DWI Law In Texas

Under Texas law, there are two basic charges that can result from driving under the influence of alcohol:

driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence of alcohol. However, the following charges and consequences may follow from an arrest in Texas depending on the factual circumstances.

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DWI, 1st Offense: Class B Misdemeanor in Texas
Fine - A fine not to exceed $2,000.
Jail - Confinement in the County Jail for a term of not less than 72 hours nor more than six (6) months. Open Container - If there was an open container of alcohol in your car when arrested, the minimum term of confinement is six (6) days in the county jail.
Community Service - Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 24 hours nor more than 100 hours.
DWI, 1st Offense with a BAC of .15 or more will probably result in a Class A Misdemeanor below.
DWI, Second Offense: Class A Misdemeanor Special Condition for Jail Release on Bond

Fine - A fine not to exceed $4,000.
Jail - Confinement in the County Jail for a term of not less than 72 hours nor more than one (1) year.
Community Service - Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 80 hours not more than 200 hours.
Deep lung air device (guardian Interlock) - Typically deep lung devices are required for all DWI second offenders during probation.
Suspension of license - A person convicted of DWI, Second may have their driving privilege suspended for not less than 180 days or more than two (2) years.

DWI, Third Offense (or greater): Third Degree Felony

Fine - A fine not to exceed $10,000.
Jail - Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 years nor more than ten (10) years.
Deep lung air device - Deep lung air devices are generally ordered on all persons convicted of three or more DWI's both as conditions of bond and as conditions of any occupational or provisional licenses that may be awarded after conviction.
Community Service - Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 160 hours not more than 600 hours.
Other - A third conviction for DWI indicates a significant problem with alcohol to the Court or jury assessing punishment. Some type of rehabilitative treatment is therefore mandated in punishment if confinement in the penitentiary is to be avoided. In some cases an in-patient, incarceration program (Sunstance Abuse Felony Probation SAFP) is ordered. This program requires confinement in a State Facility for alcohol rehabilitation.

Intoxication Assault

Third degree Felony "A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake, while operating a ... motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another" {Texas Penal Code §49.07}. " 'Serious Bodily Injury' means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ".

Fine - A fine not to exceed $10,000.
Jail - Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 years nor more than ten (10) years.
Community Service - Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 160 hours not more than 600 hours.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Second Degree Felony - "A person commits an offense if the person:

  1. 1) ...operates a motor vehicle in a public place, and...
  2. 2) ...is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake."

Fine - A fine not to exceed $10,000.
Jail - Confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary) for a term of not less than 2 years nor more than twenty (20) years.
Community Service - Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 240 hours nor more than 800 hours.

NOTE: If a person is involved in an accident where there is risk of death or death, a mandatory blood sample will almost certainly be taken for analysis and used in the prosecution of either Intoxication Assult or Intoxication Manslaughter.