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  • Texas DWI Laws

DWI Laws in Texas

Under Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code, a person commits a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

Intoxicated

For purposes of this chapter of the Penal Code, intoxicated is defined as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body, or having a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more.

Motor Vehicle

Texas law defines motor vehicle as a device in, on, or by which a person or property is or may be transported or drawn on a highway except a device used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks.

Minors and Commercial Drivers Driving While Intoxicated

The 0.08 blood alcohol content level applies to persons of the age 21 or over in Texas. Minors, those who are under the legal drinking age of 21, may be charged with a DWI for having any detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Commercial drivers may be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol content level is at 0.04 or higher.

How Intoxication is Detected

When determining whether a driver is intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, law enforcement officers may use different practices to test the sobriety of the driver. Blood alcohol content of a driver may be determined by:

  • A breathalyzer test
  • A blood test
  • A urine test

However, having a blood alcohol content level above the legally-designated limit is not required to arrest a driver for a DWI in Texas. If the driver shows intoxication by lacking normal use of his or her mental or physical faculties by reason of ingestion of an alcohol or drug, that is sufficient for a DWI arrest. Intoxication may be determined with field sobriety testing.

Penalties

There are various levels of DWI crimes with different penalties and offense levels.

A first time DWI offense is a Class B Misdemeanor where the driver may face:

  • A fine up to $2,000
  • Jail time ranging from 72 hours to 180 days
  • License suspension for 90 to 365 days

A second time DWI offense is a Class A Misdemeanor where the driver may face:

  • A fine up to $4,000
  • Jail time ranging from 30 to 365 days
  • License suspension for 180 days to 2 years

A third time DWI offense is a 3rd Degree Felony where the driver may face:

  • A fine up to $10,000
  • 2 to 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • License suspension for 180 days to 2 years

Other types of DWI crimes include:

  • Intoxication Assault
  • Intoxication Manslaughter
  • DWI with Child Passenger
  • First DWI with Open Container Enhancement

If you have been charged with a DWI, you may face serious penalties ranging from heavy fines to jail time. It is important that you seek a strong legal defense to assist you in fighting your DWI charge. The DWI Trial Lawyers at the Wilder DWI Firm are highly skilled at challenging DWIs, with a proven track record of success. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation.

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