15 Day Warning
You only have 15 Days from the time of your DWI arrest in the state of Texas to ask for an administrative hearing regarding your driver’s license. Failure to make this request within that time window will result in your driver’s license being suspended automatically.
2 Important Steps to Follow If You Have Been Charged with a DWI in Texas
- Understand a DWI charge is a serious matter.
If you are convicted of DWI in Texas, the consequences will follow you for a long time. Having a criminal record can severely hinder your future, employment opportunities, and may limit the freedoms you enjoy.
- Promptly hire an experienced DWI Defense Attorney.
DWI laws and courtroom proceedings can be confusing to understand on your own. Partnering with an attorney who has experience assisting people charged with drunk driving can make an incredible difference in your case. For assistance, please call ###-###-###, or select your country from the menu provided above and proceed from there.
Every DWI attorney on DWI.com offers an initial free consultation to discuss your DWI charge with you.
To start fighting your DWI charge in the state of Texas, please scroll up to the drop-down menu to find a Texas DWI defense attorney in your county. Time is a critical factor in beginning a DWI case, so click now.
Please note – you do not have to face a guilty conviction just because you are arrested for DWI in Texas. For example, in Huston, police may arrest you for DWI even if your breath test did not exceed the legal limit of .08%. You have the right to fight the charge.
Texas DWI Laws
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) pertains to both alcohol and drug related traffic offenses. This is a criminal offense subject to administrative penalties. A driver is considered intoxicated by law if the alcohol concentration in their breath / blood / urine is .08% or above.
Under certain conditions in Texas, the definition of intoxication can be even less than .08%. This pertains to circumstances where a lesser amount of alcohol has still caused loss of a person’s mental or physical faculties. Operating a vehicle, vessel, even water skis while intoxicated is a class B misdemeanor in Texas. Flying an aircraft or boating while intoxicate are crimes as well.
The minimum jail time faced for DWI is 72 hours. If there is an open container of alcohol in the driver’s possession, then the minimum is 6 days. Consuming any amount of alcohol while driving a vehicle is an offense in the state of Texas.
Someone convicted of DWI will also have their driver’s license suspended for 90 days up to 1 year, in addition to jail time. Testing positive for alcohol from a blood, breath, or urine test results in an automatic suspension of one’s driver’s license, even without a conviction. The person charged may also be required to complete an alcohol education program. Failure to complete the program after being sentenced to do so will result in losing one’s driver’s license. A subsequent conviction for DWI will lead to suspension for another 18 months. To get one’s license back after the 18 month period, a $125 fine must be paid. Also, upon conviction of DWI, you will be enrolled in the Texas Surcharge Program.
There are penalties for refusal to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test. When an officer has reason to believe a person is driving while intoxicated, and the driver will not submit to testing, their driver’s license is suspended automatically for 90 days (if 21 or older), and suspended for 1 year (if under 21 years old). The duration of license suspension increases with each subsequent test of alcohol concentration that results above the legal limit. And the suspension period also increases with every time the person refuses testing. However, a person is always entitled to a hearing under any circumstance.
Texas Drivers License Suspension Periods, Texas DWI Statutes, Ignition Interlock Devices
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1. Driving on Roadway Laned for Traffic. Texas Transportation Code § 545.060
(a) An operator on a roadway divided into two or more clearly marked lanes for traffic:
(1) shall drive as nearly as practical entirely within a single lane; and
(2) may not move from the lane unless that movement can be made safely.
- Conditions requiring motor vehicle ignition interlock. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 17.441.
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a magistrate shall require on release that a defendant charged with a subsequent offense under Sections 49.04-49.06, Penal Code, or an offense under Section 49.07 or 49.08 of that code:
(1) have installed on the motor vehicle owned by the defendant or on the vehicle most regularly driven by the defendant, a device that uses a deep-lung breath analysis mechanism to make impractical the operation of a motor vehicle if ethyl alcohol is detected in the breath of the operator; and
(2) not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with that device.
(b) The magistrate may not require the installation of the device if the magistrate finds that to require the device would not be in the best interest of justice.
2.1 Interlock as a condition of community supervision. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Ar. 42.12 § 13(i)
If it is shown on the trial of the offense that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed … the court shoal require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant have the device installed on the appropriate vehicle and that the defendant not operate any motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with that device.
- No Deferred Adjudication for Intoxication Offenses. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 5(d)(1)(a)
(d) In all other cases the judge may grant deferred adjudication unless:
(1) the defendant is charged with an offense:
(A) under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code; …
- No Early Release for DWI. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 20(b)
(b) This section does not apply to a defendant convicted of an offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code …
- Jail Time as a Condition of DWI Conviction. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.14, § 13(a)(1)
(a) A judge granting community supervision to a defendant convicted of an offense under Chapter 49, Penal Code, shall require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant submit to:
(1) not less than 72 hours of continuous confinement in county jail if the defendant was punished under Section 49.09(a); not less than five days of confinement in county jail if the defendant was punished under Section 49.09(b) or (c); or not less than 30 days of confinement in county jail if the defendant was convicted under Section 49.07; …
- Enhanced Offenses and Penalties. Texas Penal Code § 49.09(a) & (b)
(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days, if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an offense of operating an aircraft while intoxicated, an offense of operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or an offense of operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.
(b) An offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted:
(1) one time of an offense under Section 49.08 or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under Section 49.08; or
(2) two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.
- Jury May Recommend That License not be Suspended. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 13(g)
(g) A jury that recommends community supervision for a person convicted of an offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code, may recommend that any driver’s license issued to the defendant under Chapter 521, Transportation Code, not be suspended. This subsection does not apply to a person punished under Section 49.09(a) or (b), Penal Code, and subject to Section 49.09(g) of that code.
- Drivers License Suspension Periods for DWI. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 13(k)
(k) Notwithstanding Sections 521.344(d)-(l), Transportation Code, if the judge, under Subsection (h) or (j) of this section, permits or requires a defendant punished under Section 49.09, Penal Code, to attend an educational program as a condition of community supervision, or waives the required attendance for such a program, and the defendant has previously been required to attend such a program, or the required attendance at the program had been waived, the judge nonetheless shall order the suspension of the driver’s license, permit, or operating privilege of that person for a period determined by the judge according to the following schedule:
(1) not less than 90 days or more than 365 days, if the defendant is convicted under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code;
(2) not less than 180 days or more than two years, if the defendant is punished under Section 49.09(a) or (b), Penal Code; or
(3) not less than one year or more than two years, if the person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code, committed within five years of the date on which the most recent preceding offense was committed.
- Suspension of Minor’s License Upon DWI Conviction. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 13(n)
(n) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or other law, the judge who places on community supervision a defendant who is younger than 21 years of age and convicted for an offense under Sections 49.04-49.08, Penal Code, shall:
(1) order that the defendant’s driver’s license be suspended for 90 days beginning on the date that the person is placed on community supervision; and
(2) require as a condition of community supervision that the defendant not operate a motor vehicle unless the vehicle is equipped with the device described by Subsection (l) of this section.
- Credit for ALR Refusal Suspension. Texas Transportation Code § 521.344
(c) The court shall credit toward the period of suspension a suspension imposed on the person for refusal to give a specimen under Chapter 724 if the refusal followed an arrest for the same offense for which the court is suspending the person’s license under this chapter. The court may not extend the credit to a person:
(1) who has been previously convicted of an offense under Section 49.04, 49.07, or 49.08, Penal Code; or
(2) whose period of suspension is governed by Section 521.342(b).
- Community Service Provisions. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 16(a)
(a) A judge shall require as a condition of community supervision, that the defendant work a specified number of hours at community service project or projects for an organization or organizations approved by the judge and designated by the department, unless the judge determines and notes on the order placing the defendant on community supervision that:
(1) the defendant is physically or mentally incapable of participating in the project;
(2) participating in the project will work a hardship on the defendant or the defendant’s dependents;
(3) the defendant is to be confined in a substance abuse punishment facility as a condition of community supervision; or
(4) there is other good cause shown.
- Community Supervision Does Not Have to be for Two Years. Texas Code Criminal Procedure Article 42.12, § 3(c)
(c) The maximum period of community supervision is two years.