Texas DWI Laws


According to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is hurt or killed in an alcohol-involved crash in Texas. Under Texas DWI law, a person commits a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense when the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

What qualifies as “intoxicated” for purposes of the Texas DWI law? It means not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of those substances, or having a .08 BAC (blood or breath alcohol concentration).

So, even if your BAC is not at the legal limit, you may be intoxicated if your mental or physical abilities are impaired due to alcohol or other drugs. An officer can determine impairment through a field sobriety test, in addition to a test that measures BAC in breath samples.

Penalties and Sentences of a DWI in Texas

  • First offense: Fines of up to $2,000; 6 to 180 days in jail; license suspension of 90 days to 1 year; and an annual fee of up to $2,000 for 3 years to retain your driver’s license.
  • Second offense: Fines of up to $4,000; 1 month to 1 year in jail; license suspension for at least 1 year; and annual fee of up to $2,000 for 3 years to retain your driver’s license.
  • Third offense: $10,000 fine; 2 to 10 years in prison; license suspension for 1 to 2 years; and an annual fee of up to $2,000 for 3 years to retain your driver’s license.

Note: Penalties may also include community service, DWI education and treatment programs, mandatory use of ignition interlock device (after 2 or more DWI convictions in 5 years), and increased auto insurance premiums.

Other Texas DWI Law Offenses

  • Refusal to submit to a sobriety test: License suspension for 180 days if first offense, 2 years if second offense
  • DWI with child passenger (under 15): State jail felony; 180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • DWI with BAC of 0.15 or more: Class A misdemeanor; up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000

Facing a Texas DWI Charge? Talk to a Texas DWI Lawyer.

Texas is known for stiff penalties, and several counties have local judges and prosecutors that pride themselves on high conviction rates, high fines and high jail time. It is extremely important that if you have been charged with a DWI in Texas that you get the best representation possible. DWI fines and jail time can disrupt your life for years to come, affect your loved ones, ruin your career and cause severe mental stress and strain. Without the right defense, you are throwing yourself at the mercy of the court.