Learn More About DWIs

Texas DWI & DUI Laws

Feb 23, 2016

In Texas, a person can be arrested for a DWI if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher. A DWI, or driving while intoxicated, is a drunk driving conviction is above the state legal alcohol limit, rendering the driver legally impaired. A DUI conviction is reserved for drivers under 21 who are drinking illegally.

The legal limit in Texas is as follows:

  • Standard, non-commercial drivers: 0.08
  • Commercial drivers: 0.04
  • Drivers under 21: 0.01

Penalties, Fines, & Suspension

Texas DWI & DUI Penalties, Fines, & Suspension
Penalty 1st offense 2nd offense 3rd offense
Sentence 3 days to 180 days in jail 1 month to 1 year in jail 2 to 10 years in prison
Fine $2,000 $4,000 $10,000
Driver’s License Suspension 1 year suspension and an additional fee from $1,000-$2,000 for three years to retain your license 2 year suspension and an additional fee from $1,000-$2,000 for three years to retain your license 2 year suspension and an additional fee from $1,000-$2,000 for three years to retain your license


Chemical Test Refusal

Texas is an “implied consent” state, which means that anyone with a Texas driver’s license has agreed to take a breath, blood, or urine test if arrested or stopped for a DWI. If you do not comply with the chemical test, the state can suspend a person’s driving privileges. If a person refuses a chemical test multiple times, the punishment is increased. All driver’s license suspension for chemical test refusal is in addition to any punishment for the DUI conviction.

1st offense: 180 day driver’s license suspension

2nd offense: 2 year driver’s license suspension

3rd offense: 2 year driver’s license suspension

Ignition Interlock

The state of Texas requires the installation of an Ignition interlock device after a person has received more than one conviction in 5 years. The installation cost will be covered by the convicted party in addition to the other fines and penalties.

Criminal Record

A DWI penalty conviction will stay on a person’s record for life. Drivers can only fight to have their records expunged if acquitted, dismissed, or reduced at the time of the trial. Once the conviction is ruled, there is no way to remove a DWI/DUI from a person’s record.

Under 21

Texas is a “Zero Tolerance” state when it comes to minors drinking and driving. The state increases penalties for anyone under 21 that has a measurable amount of alcohol registered in a chemical test. If a minor registers over 0%, they can be charged with a DUI, or driving under the influence.

DWI with a Child Passenger

Texas has laws that protect child passengers under 15 years old. If a person is charged and convicted of a that are subjected to enhanced penalties, such as a up to 2 years in jail, $10,000, and a 180 days driver’s license suspension.

More on TX DUI Laws:

Texas Department of Transportation – Driving While Intoxicated:

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Updated: June 30, 2016 at 12:21 pm