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Texas DUI or DWI

It is illegal to drive a car, truck, boat, motorcycle, or any other motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in Texas. Driving while intoxicated (known as DWI) is a crime in Texas.

In other states, driving while intoxicated may also be known as driving under the influence (DUI), operating under the influence (OUI), or operating a vehicle under the influence (OVI).

Texas DWI laws limit the amount of alcohol a person can have in his or her bloodstream-known as the blood alcohol content, or BAC-while operating a motor vehicle. The current BAC limit in Texas is .08 percent, which is the equivalent of .08 g of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. For underage drivers in Texas, it is illegal to have any trace of alcohol or drugs in your system while operating a motor vehicle. For people who hold a commercial driver's license, the legal BAC limit in Texas is .04 percent.

How Do Texas Police Determine If You're Driving Under the Influence?

If police in Texas believe you might be driving while intoxicated, the police can stop you and administer a field sobriety test.

During a field sobriety test in Texas, you may be asked to:

  • Stand on one foot with your arms at your side
  • Walk in a straight line, placing the heel of one foot directly in front of the toes of your other foot, then turn, and walk back to the police officer
  • Track a moving object with your eyes while keeping your head still

How Do Police in Texas Determine Your Blood Alcohol Content?

Based on your field sobriety test, the police officer may have probable cause to arrest you under suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Police may subsequently administer a breathalyzer test, a blood test, or a urine test to measure your blood alcohol content.

If you refuse to take a BAC test, Texas laws require officials to automatically suspend your driver's license for 180 days.

Texas Law enforcement officials do not necessarily need BAC test results to charge you with driving while intoxicated. They can charge you with DWI in Texas even if your BAC test results are under the legal threshold for driving while intoxicated. You can be convicted of driving while intoxicated in Texas based on other evidence that demonstrates you were unable to safely drive your motor vehicle.

A Texas DWI attorney can help you understand the charges against you.

What Are the Penalties for Driving While Intoxicated in Texas?

Factors affecting DWI charges in Texas include:

  • Whether you have any prior DWI convictions in Texas
  • Whether you were in an accident or speeding while intoxicated
  • Whether there was a child in the car with you while you were intoxicated
  • Whether your BAC was excessively high
  • Whether you were driving on a suspended license

If convicted of DWI in Texas, you may face penalties including:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Loss of your Texas driver's license
  • Installation of an ignition switch that will prevent you from operating your vehicle if you've been drinking

In addition, your motor vehicle insurance rates will almost certainly increase following a Texas DWI conviction.

If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, your Texas DWI lawyer can help you attempt to negotiate lesser charges, defend you in court, and appeal a conviction if necessary.

Additional Texas Driving While Intoxicated Resources

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's guide to impaired driving & selected beverage control laws

Information about Texas courts

Guide to Understanding Blood Alcohol Concentration & Alcohol Impairment

Texas DWI information guide to DUI-DWI defenses

Blood alcohol content (BAC) chart

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's summary of DUI-DWI laws

Information about Driving while intoxicated in Texas's driving while intoxicated frequently asked questions