Austin, Texas Drinking Laws

DWI Laws in Texas

Texas uses the term DWI (Driving while intoxicated) instead of DUI (Driving under the influence) to officially refer to drinking and driving cases.

Texas’s DWI laws prohibit all drivers from operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater or while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol.

The state has heavily mandated laws that make it illegal for drivers under the age of 21 to get behind the wheel with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

The DWI laws in Texas are strict for a reason. The state has a dark record of a huge amount of fatalities due to driving violations. To this effect, Texas DWI laws are fashioned to discourage people entirely from the notion of driving intoxicated.

Generally, you are considered “intoxicated” if you “lack the normal use of mental or physical faculties” as the response to taking drugs, alcohol, or any other substance. To prevent the tragic trend of deaths, the Texas government has set up heavy penalties and tolls for DWI laws’ defaulters. Let’s take a look at those penalties.

Texas DWI Penalties

It is an unwise thing to break any law in Texas. The state has a reputation for being arguably the strictest state in the country. That said, the penalties vary based on the circumstances of a case. The general survey of the potential sentences is based on the number of times you’ve been convicted for a DWI offense.

The table below shows a general survey of what these sentences should look like;

 1st Offence2nd Offense3rd Offense
License Suspension90 days to 12 months180 days to 2 years180 days to 2 years
Jail72 hours to 6 months (12-month maximum with .15% BAC or greater)30 days to 12 months2 to 10 years
FinesUp to $2,000 (up to $,4000 if BAC is .15% or greater)Up to $4,000Up to $10,000
Ignition Interlock Device (IID)Only as a condition of obtaining an “Occupational license.”1 year (with a prior conviction within 5 years)1 year (with a prior conviction within 5 years)

Implied Consent

All drivers that are lawfully arrested in the state of Texas are required by the law to submit a blood or breath test. Drivers that refuse testing face license suspension in the ranges of;

 1st Offence2nd Offense3rd Offense
License Suspension180 days2 years2 years

Child Passenger While Driving Intoxicated

If you drive intoxicated with a child in the vehicle, you can also face child endangerment charges. You’ll also be facing fines of up to $10,000, potentially lose your license for 180 days, and some 2 years jail time.

Vehicular Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault

Suppose you commit a DWI and cause an accident, which leads to another person being badly injured. In that case, you can also be charged with a third-degree felony – intoxication assault. This charge carries the same potential punishments as a third offense DWI

Vehicular manslaughter, on the darker hand, is a second-degree felony that occurs when a drunk driver murders someone in an accident. These degree felonies carry heavy tolls like prison sentences of between 2 to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine. These charges are valid for anyone that commits this infraction, regardless of the number of times they’ve received a DWI before.

Reducing Texas DWI Charge

In a situation where you’re charged with a violation of a DWI law in Texas, it’s possible to get a lesser charge with a “Plea Bargain.” A DWI charge can be reduced to reckless driving using a plea deal known as “Wet Reckless.”  While in some states there’s a distinction for reckless driving charges that involve drinking, in Texas, the statute applies more loosely to all types of reckless driving.

Glaringly, the Texas DWI laws prove how unwise it would be to drive under the influence in the state. In light of this, if you find yourself in a dire situation involving these DWI violations, you should seek professional counsel as soon as possible. Hire an Austin DWI Lawyer to help you get the professional perspective you need and avoid any violations of your rights.

This is most especially true if, for some reason, you are not guilty. Whatever the reason, you need someone who will back you and stand in your corner. Good luck!

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