Texas Law & Drunk Driving (DWI) Offenses

In the State of Texas, DWI (drinking while intoxicated) means drunk driving. So how do authorities determination whether you’re intoxicated? The state uses your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) to determine whether one is intoxicated to handle a motor vehicle.

BAC limits in Texas:

  • Commercial drivers – 0.04%
  • 21 years old and above – 0.08%
  • Less than 21 years old – Any detectable amount

Alcohol affects a driver depending on gender, body weight, and number of drinks one has had. Check out this TX blood alcohol percentage chart for more information.

DWI Penalties in Texas

Certain factors affect Texas DWI penalties. Some of them include license type, and age. Other circumstances such as horrific events such as death can also affect the penalty you receive.

The following are the common drinking while intoxicated penalties you can expect in Texas:

  • Costlier car insurance, depending on provider
  • DWI intervention and education programs
  • Imprisonment
  • Community service
  • License revocation or suspension
  • Surcharges and fines

DWI Penalties for Minors

The Texas DWI laws consider a minor as anyone below 21 years old. Just like with many states, TX has Zero Tolerance Law for alcohol and minors. What does this mean? It simply means that drivers below 21 years can’t drive cars with any amount of drugs or alcohol in their systems.

Here’s what minors face for their 1st offense:

  • Up to $500 in terms of fine
  • License suspension that doesn’t exceed 1 year
  • Alcohol Education Program that’s at least 12 hours long
  • An extra 180 days of license suspension for those that don’t complete their Alcohol Education Program
  • Ninety days license suspension of a judge offers you community service

Should your parents decide to hire an attorney for you, expect to pay legal fees, court costs, and fines.

DWI Penalties for Adults

Like with minors, the state assigns penalties for adult drivers.

Here are the penalties for 1st Offense:

  • DWI education or intervention program
  • Annual surcharge that can be as high as $2000 for three years to keep your license
  • License suspension for up to 2 years
  • Jail time of between 3 – 180 days
  • Fine of up to $2000
  • Possible ignition interlock device

2nd Offense

  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • DWI education or intervention program
  • Annual surcharge that can be as high as $2000 for three years to keep your license
  • License suspension for up to 2 years
  • Jail time of between 1 month – 1 year
  • Fine of up to $4000

3rd Offense

  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • DWI education or intervention program
  • Annual surcharge that can be as high as $2000 for three years to keep your license
  • License suspension for up to 2 years
  • State prison time of between 2 years – 10 years
  • Fine of up to $10000

Intoxication Manslaughter

Just as the name suggests, intoxication manslaughter entails killing another person while driving your car under the influence. If the judge will not convict you, you’ll have to put up with a 2nd degree felony.

Intoxication Assault

If you cause serious bodily harm to someone, the authorities can charge you with intoxication assault. According to DWI law in Texas, serious bodily injury is an injury, which causes:

  • Damage which impairs functions of a body organ or part
  • Permanent and serious disfigurement or loss
  • A major risk of death

If you’ll not be convicted, you’ll be charged with 3rd degree felony.

Administrative Penalties

In this state, you can face an array of penalties for refusing a chemical test or driving under the influence on top of criminal penalties. The Department of Public Safety handles these penalties which the law calls them ALR (Administrative License Revocation). Basically, they’re civil penalties that results in the license of a driver being suspended for refusing or failing a chemical test.

When you Need to Hire a DWI Attorney

It’s prudent to be preventive rather than reactive when it comes to DWI. Never leave anything to chance. You should start seeking the services of a DWI lawyer immediately you find yourself in any of the situations mentioned above. When looking for an attorney, keep these factors in mind:

  • Ask your prospective attorney about his or her past DWI cases. Did he or she assist the client land the minimum penalties? Were those penalties waived? Given your circumstance, what does the lawyer think your chances are?
  • Always look for reputable and experienced DWI attorneys with a specialty in Texas DWI laws

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