Texas DWI Laws
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas includes impairment from not just alcohol, but also illicit and prescription drugs -- as in other states. And if you refuse to submit to a breath test when stopped by the police for suspicion of DWI, you will get an automatic 180-day driver's license suspension. Also, Texas law mandates some amount of jail time for DWI offenders, whether it's for a first or fifth offense.
Specifically, first-time offenders will have to pay a fine of up to $2,000, spend three to 180 days in jail, lose their driver's license for up to one year, and pay an additional $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years to retain a driver's license (after the suspension has expired). Those convicted of a second offense will have to spend at least one month (and up to one year) in jail.
Learn more about the DWI laws in Texas below.
Texas DWI Laws: Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits and Implied Consent
|"Per Se" BAC Limit||0.08 Percent|
|Zero Tolerance (Underage) BAC Limit||0.02 Percent|
|Enhanced Penalty (Aggravated) BAC Limit||0.15 Percent|
|Implied Consent to Submit to BAC Test?||Yes|
Texas DWI Laws: Select Penalties
|Minimum License Suspension or Revocation (1st, 2nd, 3rd offense)||90 days, 1 year, 1 year|
|Mandatory Alcohol Education, Assessment and Treatment||Discretionary|
|Vehicle Confiscation Possible?||Yes|
|Ignition Interlock Device Possible?||Yes|
Note: State laws are always changing through legislative, judicial, or other means. While FindLaw works hard to ensure the accuracy of its legal resources, it's a good idea to thoroughly research the law or check with an attorney to make sure you have the most recent information.
DWI with a Child Passenger
If you are charged with a DWI and had a child passenger at the time of arrest (15 years or younger), you will face enhanced penalties upon conviction. Offenders will have to pay a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to a 180-day driver's license suspension and up to two years in state prison.
Texas DWI Resources
- DWI Statutes: Driving While Intoxicated (Tex. Pen. Code 49.04); Enhanced DWI Penalties (Tex. Pen. Code 49.09); Administrative Drivers License Suspensions (Tex. Trans. Code 524.022); Ignition Interlock Requirements (Tex. Trans. Code 521.246).
- DWI Safety Tips - Tips on the dangers and penalties associated with DWI offenses under Texas law (Tex. Dept. of Transportation).
- DWI Education Program - Details on the required alcohol education following a DWI in Texas (Tex. Dept. of State Health Services).
- DWI Intervention Program: General Information - The basics of the intervention program for Texas DWI offenders (Texas Dept. of State Health Services).
- Overview of Texas DWI Laws - Additional details about the DWI laws in Texas, including information about sentencing and penalties (FindLaw).
- DUI Law - Collection of articles and resources to help you understand impaired driving law, how to defend against charges, working with an attorney, and more (FindLaw).
Get Legal Help with Your DWI Case in Texas
Figuring out your next steps after getting charged with a DWI can be confusing and stressful, particularly if you're dealing with a driver's license suspension or even jail time. The prosecution will be staffed with lawyers and working toward your conviction, so you may want to get prepared yourself. And, the best way to prepare for your DWI case is to contact a local criminal defense attorney who will examine the strength of the evidence against you and advocate for the best possible outcome.