The penalties for drunk driving are severe in Texas, and even first offenders face mandatory jail time. Motorists can be charged with driving while intoxicated in the Lone Star State if blood or breath tests reveal that they were behind the wheel with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, and it does not take many drinks to reach the legal limit. Texas drivers under the legal drinking age of 21 are not permitted to have any alcohol in their systems at all.
The penalties for a first DWI
When a driver is convicted of DWI for the first time, they can be ordered to pay a fine of up to $2,000 and will spend at least three days in jail. If there are aggravating factors, the judge could send a first offender to jail for up to 180 days. A harsher drunk driving sentence could be handed down if the offender had a particularly high BAC, was involved in an accident or was belligerent or rude to police officers. First offenders also lose their driving privileges for up to a year.
The penalties for a second or third DWI
The DWI penalties are even harsher for repeat offenders. The maximum fine is increased to $4,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third DWI, and repeat offenders can be banned from driving for up to two years. A second DWI carries a prison sentence of between one and 12 months, and a third drunk driving conviction is punishable by between two and 10 years behind bars.
Avoiding DWI penalties
The authorities in Texas take drunk driving very seriously, and motorists who get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol can face harsh penalties even if they have never been in trouble with the law before. If you want to have a few drinks while enjoying time with your friends or family, you can avoid these penalties by choosing a designated driver or taking a cab.