Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated in Texas

For more than 25 years, Randall Isenberg has maintained an independent law practice in Dallas, Texas. Randall Isenberg has earned high regard as a defense attorney for clients charged with driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI).

In the state of Texas, a person may be accused and convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) if his or her blood alcohol concentration is above a state-specified level. Any amount of alcohol in the blood constitutes intoxication for drivers under 21 years of age, as alcohol consumption is unlawful for individuals of this age. This zero tolerance policy results in first offense penalties that include a fine of up to $500, a license suspension of one year or less, and attendance at an alcohol education program.

For non-commercial drivers over the age of 21, DWI is only a valid charge if the individual’s blood alcohol level exceeds 0.08 percent. A first offense for such a driver may carry the penalty of a license suspension of two years or less and a fine of up to $2,000, though fines may increase if the driver has a passenger under 15 years of age. First offenders may also receive the sentence of prison time for three to 180 days.

Penalties become more severe for adults charged with their second, third, or subsequent DWI offense. Fines may be twice as high, for example, for a second offense as compared to a first. By the third offense, the individual may be eligible for up to 10 years of prison time and fines of up to $10,000.