Texas DUI and DWI Laws

Learn about the penalties for a DUI DWI conviction in Texas.

What are the penalties for a DUI in Texas?

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense

Minimum Jail

3 to 180 days

30 days to 1 year

2 years

Fines and Penalties

Up to $2,000 (unless a child under 15 is in car)

Up to $4,000 (unless a child under 15 is in car)

Up to $10,000

License Suspension

90 to 365 days

180 days to 2 years

180 days to 2 years

IID* Required

No

Yes

Yes

Note: Keep in mind that Texas has no "lookback" period -- the time during which a previous charge may be counted in your total number of DUIs. That is, even if your first DUI was 25 years ago, it will still count as a prior offense.

*Interlock Ignition Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DUI in Texas?

Under 21

.02

21 or older

.08

Commercial

.04

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Texas?

Texas has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. To learn more, see Texas’s implied consent law.

1st Offense 2nd offense 3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

180 day license suspension

2 year license suspension

2 year license suspension

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DUI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in Texas?

In Texas, it's possible for someone who's accused of driving under the influence to plea bargain for a lesser charge. When such a plea bargain is for a reckless driving charge, it's sometimes called a "wet reckless."

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 is a form that your insurance company files that proves you meet certain coverage requirements. SR-22 are often required for driving who have been convicted of DUIs, serious traffic offense, or multiple traffic violations within a certain period of time. 

(Learn more about SR 22 requirements in Texas.)

Texas's Drunk Driving Laws

Texas law prohibits operating a vehicle while:

  • having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more, or
  • actually impaired by alcohol or drugs.

And for underage drivers (those under 21 years old), it's illegal to drive with a BAC of .02% or more. 

How Many Drinks Does It Take to Reach the Legal Limit?

Everyone metabolizes alcohol at different rates, and there are a number of variables that affect BAC. So, the number of drinks it takes to put a person over the legal limit depends on individual characteristics and the circumstances. If you've been drinking, it's always best to let someone else drive.

(For an estimate of what your BAC might be after having a certain number of drinks, check out our BAC chart.)

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