Texas DUI and DWI Laws

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

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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.

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

2d 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?

No, a plea bargain for a conviction of "wet reckless" (reckless driving involving alcohol) is barred by statute in Texas.

What is an SSR-22? An SR-22 is a form filed by your insurance company demonstrating that you meet certain insurance requirements. Only an insurance company can furnish the SR-22. Often the SR-22 need only meet your state’s minimum liability standards. In some cases, however, certain individuals may be subject to insurance coverage requirements that have higher limits and different coverage. To learn more, see Texas SR22 Insurance Requirement.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Texas

The State of Texas prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by drivers with a .08 percent or above blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The .08 limit is used across the United States as the benchmark for the "impaired" driver. Texas has lower limits in place for commercial drivers (.04) and for drivers under the age of 21 (.02). The Texas DWI law also makes it illegal to drive while under the influence of controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other intoxicants.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Texas? This question is often asked by drivers who want to know how many drinks they can have before they reach the .08 BAC limit. A BAC score is determined by a number of different variables such as weight, sex, elapsed time interval between drinks and many other factors. Although there are charts and calculators to help you determine your BAC, these tools do not take into account all variables that contribute to a BAC score.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Texas has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Texas, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first time you are arrested in the State of Texas for drunk driving you will receive a fine up to $2,000. You will also be confined to jail for no less than 72 hours and no more than 180 days. Your drivers license will be suspended for no less than 90 days and no more than 1 year. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at your own expense.

The second time you are arrested and convicted of a DWI in Texas you will be fined up to $4,000. You will also serve a minimum of 30 days in jail up to 1 year. Your drivers license will be suspended for a minimum of 6 months or up to 2 years. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at your own expense.

The 3rd conviction for a DWI in Texas is considered a 3rd degree felony. You will be fined up to $10,000 and serve no less than 2 years or up to 10 years in the penitentiary. Your drivers license will also be suspended up to 2 years. You may also be ordered to install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at your own expense.

by: , Attorney

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