Driving While Intoxicated

In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) means drunk driving, and the state uses your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine whether you’re too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle.

Below are the state’s BAC limits:

  • 21 years old or older: 0.08%
  • Commercial drivers: 0.04%
  • Younger than 21 years old: Any detectable amount.

Alcohol can affect you based on the number of drinks you’ve had, your body weight, and even your gender. Check out the TX blood alcohol percentage charts to learn more.

Additional Drug and Alcohol Crimes

Mostly, DWI crimes are related to your BAC when operating a motor vehicle and certain other circumstances (as you’ll see below). However, officers can arrest you for other alcohol-related crimes involving your vehicle.

For example, it’s illegal to have an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your vehicle if you’re driving or parked on a public highway (Texas defines the “passenger area” as the area designed for people to sit in while traveling).

A simple open container violation results in a maximum $500 fine and a Class C misdemeanor. However, if you’re arrested for DWI and open container, you’ll get a Class B misdemeanor and a minimum of 6 days in jail.

For more information on other kinds of DWI laws, check out Title 10, Chapter 49 of the state’s penal code.

Understand Your DWI Penalties

TX DWI penalties are based on factors like age, license type, and other circumstances (such as having other passengers in the vehicle, or horrific events like death).

Common DWI penalties you can expect include:

  • Fines and surcharges (also tack on court costs and lawyer fees).
  • License suspension or revocation.
  • Community service.
  • Imprisonment (even for a 1st offense).
  • DWI education and intervention programs.
  • More expensive car insurance, depending on your provider.

DWI Penalties: Minors

TX DWI laws distinguish anyone younger than 21 years old as a minor.