Understanding the Consequences of Drunk Driving in Texas

by Terry Bryant

If you are cited for drinking and driving in Texas, serious penalties face you, not the least of which is serious jail time if your intoxication causes an accident that injures or kills someone. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is used to determine whether you’re too drunk to drive. The legal limit for being able to drive and not be charged with DWI is 0.08 BAC. Adults (21 years and older) who are convicted of DWI face penalties that include, but are not limited to, the following:

First offense:

  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • Jail time: 3 to 180 days
  • License suspension for up to 2 years
  • Possible ignition interlock device (including fees and fines)
  • DWI intervention or education program.

Second offense:

  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • Jail time of between 1 month and 1 year
  • License suspension for up to 2 years
  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • DWI intervention or education program.

Third offense:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Between 2 and 10 years in state prison
  • License suspension for up to 2 years (after you’re released from prison)
  • Possible ignition interlock device
  • DWI intervention or education program.

DWI with a Child Passenger

According to the Texas DMV website, if you are driving drunk with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle, you could face:

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Jail time of up to 2 years
  • License suspension for 180 days.

When Your Drunk Driving Injures or Kills

Intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter are considered extreme DWI crimes. You’ll be charged with intoxication assault if you cause serious bodily injury; a third degree felony. If convicted, a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years awaits, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.

Intoxication manslaughter involves killing another person while driving under the influence.

This is a second degree felony, with a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years and a possible fine not to exceed $10,000 follow a conviction.

Minors Who Illegally Purchase or Consume Alcohol

Just about any involvement you have with alcohol if you’re under 21 – even non-driving alcohol offenses – can affect your driving privileges in Texas.

Examples of non-driving alcohol offenses include:

  • Purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol
  • Lying about your age when trying to purchase alcohol
  • Presenting a fake ID which states you’re 21 years old while attempting to purchase alcohol
  • Consuming alcohol
  • Possessing alcohol
  • Public intoxication.

Penalties for minor related-alcohol offenses include the following:

  • 1st offense: License suspension for 30 days.
  • 2nd offense: License suspension for 60 days.
  • 3rd offense: License suspension for 180 days.

Based on your situation (and possibly even your age), your court judge could also order you to submit to an Alcohol Education Program and perform community service.

If you or a family member has been injured by a drunk driver; the attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Lawyers can help. Call us toll-free at 1 (800) 444-5000 or send us a note using this contact form.