Texas imposes jail time, fines and license suspensions for motorists convicted of driving while intoxicated. A DWI charge can result from either measured blood alcohol content above 0.08% or obvious impairment observed by law enforcement. Drivers younger than 21 receive a DWI with any BAC level above zero.
If you have a court date for DWI, understand the legal penalties that may apply in your case:
First-time Texas DWI
For a first-time DUI in Texas, you will receive at least 72 hours and up to six months in jail. Individuals with an elevated BAC of 0.15% or higher at the time of arrest can receive a maximum jail sentence of 12 months. This conviction also carries a minimum 90-day license suspension and fines of up to $2,000 — $4,000 with elevated BAC. If you qualify for an occupational license, you must install an ignition interlock device for 12 months at your own expense.
Subsequent DWI offenses
The look-back period for DWI in Texas is five years. For the second DWI during that span, you will receive at least 30 days and up to a year in jail. This offense also carries $4,000 in fines and a license suspension of at least 180 days and up to two years.
For a third DWI conviction, the offender will receive at least two years and up to a decade in jail. In addition to the 180-day license suspension, the person is subject to maximum fines of $10,000.
Texas is an implied consent state for the purpose of DWI. If a person refuses a breath or blood test at the scene of an arrest, he or she will receive a mandatory 180-day license suspension for a first offense and a mandatory two-year suspension for subsequent offenses in the same 10-year period. The court will add this penalty to the person’s other DWI charges.