Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Texas

The state of Texas has several laws that relate to drinking and driving (Texas DUI). First, if you or your passengers are caught with an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, you will receive a fine of up to $500. If you as the driver have a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher, you are considered legally intoxicated and will be arrested for a Texas DWI offense. Also, even if your BAC is lower than .08%, you could be arrested for DWI if your driving appears to be impaired and alcohol or drugs are in your system. This impairment is determined based on field sobriety tests. If you refuse to take any BAC or field sobriety tests you probably will be arrested but your case may be easier to win in a Texas court of law.

DWI Arrests in Texas

When you are stopped, you will almost certainly be asked to take some form of a BAC test. You do have the right to refuse this test, but if you do, you will automatically have your driver's license suspended for 180 days. Also, if you fail the test, your license is automatically revoked for 90 days. At this time, you get a temporary driver's permit to give you the chance to secure a lawyer and request your hearing. You need to request your hearing within 15 days of your arrest, or your suspension will take full effect.

Because this is so time sensitive, you will want to have a lawyer help you file the necessary paperwork. Your arrest will either be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding it. If you are arrested for a Texas DWI offense and you have a child passenger in your car, you are automatically charged with a felony. Also, if you are drunk and cause an accident wherein someone is killed, you will be charged with intoxication manslaughter, a 2nd degree felony.

Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders

If you are arrested for your first DWI in Texas, you will face the following consequences:

  • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Jail time of 3 to 180 days
  • Fee to retain driver's license - $1,000 to $2,000 per year
  • Possible probation for 1 year

The court also can set strict requirements for you to get your license back. You may be asked to make a donation to a drunk driving prevention charity, attend AA meetings, or attend driver's education classes. Subsequent offenses face stricter penalties.

License Suspension for Texas DWI Arrests and Convictions

One other consequence that comes with a Texas DWI arrest is license suspension. Since Texas has an Automatic License Revocation law, your license is automatically revoked if you are arrested for DWI if you fail a BAC test or refuse to give a specimen. This revocation can be turned into a temporary suspension as a result of a successful appeal before the administrative law judge with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

First time offenders convicted of DWI can face up to a year of suspension of their driver's license. Second offenders convicted of DWI can lose their license for up to two years. After the suspension is over, those who have DWI convictions in Texas will have to pay a yearly fee to keep their driver's license active. You will have to pay a fee and finish any court-ordered requirements before getting your license reinstated.

Insurance Consequences of a DWI Offense/Conviction

When you are arrested for a Texas DWI offense, your car insurance will also suffer. If your insurance company is willing to keep your policy, you can expect your premiums to go up significantly. Chances are your existing company will drop your policy. You will be forced to find a company willing to take you on, no matter what the price, before you will be allowed to get your license back.