Texas Drunk Driving Laws

When is a Driver Considered to be Legally Drunk in Texas?

  • Non-commercial drivers age 21+ are considered legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .08 or more.
  • Drivers of commercial vehicles are legally drunk when their blood alcohol level is .04 percent or greater. In Texas, school bus drivers are commercial drivers.
  • Drivers under 21 are legally drunk when there is any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.

Penalties for Drunk Driving in Texas

  • A first-time offender faces up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both. The driver’s license suspension period is 90 days.
  • A person who commits a second DWI within five years of the first offense faces up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both. The driver’s license suspension period is one year.
  • A person who commits a third DWI within five years of the prior offense faces two to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. The driver’s license suspension period is one year.

Enhanced Penalty for DWI with Child Passenger Under 15

If a person commits a DWI while a passenger younger than 15 is in the vehicle, the offender faces 180 days to two years in prison. The offender may also be fined up to $10,000.

Commercial Drivers

In addition to other penalties that may apply under the DWI laws of Texas, a commercial driver who commits a first DWI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for one year. If, however, the driver was operating a commercial vehicle and transporting hazardous materials at the time, the disqualification period is three years. A commercial driver who commits a second DUI while driving any vehicle will be disqualified from driving a commercial vehicle for life.

Underage Drivers

The following penalties apply to minors at least 18 but under 21 who commit a DWI:

  • For a first offense, the minor will be fined up to $500 and be ordered to perform community service work for 20 to 40 hours. The community service work must be related to education about or prevention of misuse of alcohol. The driver’s license suspension period is 30 days.
  • For a second offense, the minor will be fined up to $500 and be ordered to perform community service work for 40 to 60 hours. The community service work must be related to education about or prevention of misuse of alcohol. The driver’s license suspension period is 60 days.
  • For a third offense, the minor is subject to a fine of $500 to $2,000, confinement in jail for up to 180 days, or both. The driver’s license suspension period is 180 days.

What is the Texas Dram Shop Act?

Under this statute, a licensed drinking establishment can be held liable for personal injuries caused by intoxication if the establishment served an obviously intoxicated person to the extent that he or she presented a clear danger to himself and others or if the establishment knowingly served alcohol to a person under 21.

Criminal Liability for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

It is a crime for a person to furnish alcohol to a person under 21. Violators face up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both.

Need more information on state laws? Learn more about the laws where you live.

Note: Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. This information is not intended to solicit clients for matters outside of the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia, although if you are injured in an accident, we have relationships with other personal injury attorneys and lawyers throughout the United States.

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