Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all states. While every state has enacted its own drunk and drugged driving laws, it’s against the law in all states to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, “About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol.” That being said, TxDOT urges all drivers in the Lone Star State to be responsible and to not drink and drive.
A lot of people don’t realize it but their body begins to be “impaired” after just one drink. Factors, such as gender, body fat percentage, and body weight play a role in a person’s ability to handle their alcohol. If a person has eaten before drinking, that too affects the absorption of alcohol in the body. Women, young adults, and small individuals tend to get impaired more easily and with less alcohol than others.
DWI Laws in Texas
As I mentioned earlier, it’s against the law to drink and drive with a BAC of .08% or more, but the truth of the matter is that anyone can be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) regardless of BAC, as long as the state can prove that the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle was impaired by alcohol or drugs. Additionally, if a driver or passenger has an open container of alcohol in their vehicle, they can be fined up to $500.
First DWI offense in Texas:
- Up to six months in jail
- A fine not to exceed $2,000
- Up to one year driver license suspension
- An annual fee up to $2,000 for three years to keep driver’s license
For each subsequent DWI offense, the penalties increase accordingly. For example, with a second DWI, drivers face up to a $4,000 fine, up to one year behind bars, and the loss of their driver’s license for up to two full years.