What are DWI Penalties in Texas?

Austin Injury Attorney That Handles Drunk Driving Accidents

Texas takes drunk driving very seriously. If a driver is caught with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level over the legal limit, the fines, jail time and other punishments can be severe and affect the drunk driver for years. Along with various types of criminal punishments, drunk drivers may face civil liability for any injuries or damages resulting from driving while intoxicated (DWI).

What are Texas Alcoholic Limits?

Though people commonly know the BAC limit for drivers age 21 and older is 0.08 percent, many do not know that the BAC limit is stricter for commercial drivers. Those who operate semi trucks and other commercial vehicles must remain under 0.04 percent BAC – half the legal limit for other drivers. Additionally, because alcohol is illegal for those under 21 years of age to consume, any detectable amount of alcohol can result in criminal punishments for minors. BAC levels are determined by a blood or breath test. Drivers may refuse these tests, but this can result in a 180-day license suspension.

For drivers found guilty of DWI, penalties are based upon a variety of factors, such as age, type of license, number of similar offenses and any other circumstances involved in the crime. This includes whether any passengers were also in the vehicle or if a wreck occurred. In particular, if a drunk driver has a passenger under the age of 15 in the car, the penalties can become more severe.

What are the Punishments for Drunk Driving in Texas?

Generally, the following penalties apply:

  • First Offense
    • Fine worth up to $2,000
    • Up to 180 days in jail
    • Revoked driver’s license for up to a year
    • Annual fees of up to $2,000 for three years to retain driver’s license
  • Second Offense
    • Fine worth up to $4,000
    • Up to a year in jail
    • Revoked driver’s license for up to two years
    • Annual fees of up to $2,000 for three years to retain driver’s license
  • Third Offense
    • Fine of $10,000
    • Two to ten years in prison
    • Revoked driver’s license for up to two years
    • Annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years to retain driver’s license

Drunk drivers may need to perform community service, take a DWI education course or receive an ignition device that does not allow the car to operate if the driver has been drinking. Other non-criminal penalties can apply. For instance, drivers with DWI convictions may have higher insurance rates.

Can Victims of Drunk Driving Accidents File Lawsuits?

In addition to criminal punishments, those who were hurt by a drunk driver or sustained property damage in a car wreck have the right to seek compensation. Drinking and driving is never worth the risk, and those who drive while intoxicated need to pay for the pain, suffering and damages they cause.

If you were injured in a collision with a drunk driver, your pain is real and you should not have to pay for your resulting medical expenses. Someone else’s reckless behavior caused you to suffer, and an injury claim can both allow you to receive compensation and show this driver that actions can come with serious consequences. Our personal injury law firm has worked to defend injury victims for decades. Let us represent you in your fight for justice – call our Austin law office today for free attorney advice.



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