Understanding Texas’ drunk driving laws

No matter what state you drive in, driving while intoxicated is illegal. But every state has their own laws regarding alcohol limits and punishments. While even driving with a buzz can be highly dangerous, it is important to understand what constitutes as drunk driving in Texas.

Like many other states, Texas defines driving while intoxicated, or DWI, as driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher — if you are of legal drinking age. For minors, any detectable amount of alcohol on your breath is enough to be charged with an underage DWI. In addition, Texas has an open container law, meaning you cannot have an open bottle or can of alcohol in the car while driving.

The penalties for a DWI are quite steep. On the first offense, adults may face a fine up to $2,000 and jail time of up to 180 days. In addition, your license could be suspended for no more than two years. When you get your license back, you may face an annual fee of up to $2,000 for the next three years in order to keep it. You may also have to take educational courses or have an ignition interlock system installed. The penalties only increase with each subsequent infraction.

If you receive a DWI and there is a child in the car, you could be looking at a $10,000 fine and up to two years in jail, in addition to the consequences listed above. Minors who receive a DWI face fines up to $500, educational programs, license suspension up to two years and an interlock system installed in the car for their first offense.

If you have been in an accident with a drunk driver, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you claim damages.