Texas Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Laws 101

September 7, 2017

By estimates from the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), three people will be injured or killed in a drunk driving accident every hour in Texas alone. Due to the prevalence and dangers of intoxicated driving, the state has implemented some of the strictest driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws in the country. If you have been charged with a DWI and you believe those charges are unjust or based on exaggerations, one of the first steps in your defense is understanding the basics of Texas DWI laws, as they could play an integral part in your case.

BAC Limits in Texas

In Texas, a driver of a passenger vehicle is considered legally intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level tests at 0.08% or greater. A person who is illegally intoxicated cannot operate any vehicle, even if he or she appears to be in complete control of their thoughts and motor skills. A driver of commercial vehicle in Texas is illegally intoxicated with a BAC level tested at 0.04% or greater; the limit is halved as it is assumed that a commercial vehicle requires at least twice as much skill and focus to operate safely when compared to a standard automobile. Anyone under the age of 21 can be charged with DUI if a BAC test reports at any amount greater than 0.000%.

Since the Texas criminal justice system is unmistakably serious about cracking down on drunk drivers, police can make a DWI arrest even without conducting a BAC test that reported the driver as legally intoxicated. If a driver has any detectable amount of alcohol or drugs in his or her system and exhibits dangerous driving behaviors, a highway patrol officer can pull them over and arrest them for suspicion of DWI. This is typical protocol may lead to unjust DWI arrests.

Potential Penalties If Convicted of a DWI in Texas

Driving while intoxicated is considered a Class B misdemeanor in most cases, assuming the alleged offender has no previous DWI convictions on his or her record and did not injure anyone in a drunk driving accident. The classification of a DWI violation can increase based on the circumstances, up to either a Class A misdemeanor or even a felony.

Penalties and consequences that could be associated with a DWI conviction in Texas include:

  • Thousands of dollars in fines and fees
  • Extensive jail or prison sentences
  • Suspension or revocation of driver’s license
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) installation
  • DWI education and safety courses
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation treatments
  • Community service
  • Auto insurance cost increases

Driving in Texas is a Privilege, Not a Right

Of course, adults in Texas have the right to drink alcohol and use any drug legally obtained or prescribed. However, they do not have the right to drive an automobile shortly after using drugs or alcohol to an extent that impairs their driving ability. This limitation is due to the fact that driving is not a right in Texas, or anywhere in the country, but is an earned privilege instead. Failing to adhere to all DWI laws in Texas permits the TXDOT and its Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to remove a driver’s legal privilege to drive until further notice.

Take the Correct Steps to Fight a DWI Charge

The people of Houston and the surrounding greater metropolitan area know that they can depend on Tyler Flood & Associates for tried-and-true legal counsel from a leading Houston DWI defense attorney. Tyler Flood has been board certified in Criminal Defense by the State Bar of Texas, which is a distinction earned through rigorous testing of legal skill and knowledge. He is also highly-rated on Avvo with a 10.0 “Superb” rating, holds an AV Preeminent™ Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is a member of the DUI Defense Lawyers Association. No matter the intricacies of your charges or the force of the prosecution, you can rest easy when our firm is on your side and defending your driving privilege and freedom.

Talk to our Houston DWI lawyer today about your case – call or email us at your first opportunity.


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Driving While Intoxicated (Blood Draw .16)
Client had bond forfeited while case was pending for not being able to attend trial when Judge ordered us to be there due to his teaching job at Texas A&M University. When he finally...read more
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Robert Henderson
Robert Henderson
December 22, 2023.
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Zeta Ze
Zeta Ze
December 15, 2023.
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briana Munoz
briana Munoz
December 5, 2023.
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October 19, 2023.
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October 12, 2023.
Houston DWI/DUI Attorney Tyler Flood is the best in the business! Tyler and his team made the entire process stress free for what is a very stressful situation. From winning the first administrative hearing (to retain my license/avoid a breathalyzer) to getting the dismissal before trial even started. He is truly the best in the business!
Cesar Ricardez
Cesar Ricardez
October 3, 2023.
I hired Tyler Flood the day after my DUI arrest after reading glowing reviews about him and I couldn’t be happier that I did so. He took care of both my cases to keep my driving rights and the misdemeanor DUI charge in court. I never even had to appear in court or do anything, him and his team took care of anything while I carried on with my life and would just get updates whenever they appeared in court on my behalf. At the end, my driver license was never suspended and they got my case dismissed. Lesson learned, I don’t wish anyone to get in my situation but if you do, don’t hesitate to hire Tyler Flood and his team, they are extremely professional and they go for the win. No deal, no probation, got it all dismissed.
September 14, 2023.
Tyler Flood, Houston DWI/DUI attorney is fantastic! He is professional, smart and takes pride in getting the best possible outcome for you. This was my second DWI and I didn't want to take chances. I found him on Google and I too was in disbelief with all the 5.0 star reviews. Upon meeting him I quickly discovered it was all true. A lawyer with his own science lab WTH??????? Long story short he got my case dismissed without going to court. You can not put a price on freedom. The only downside is I only hope to need his services this one time. 😀 Thanks again Mr. Flood God bless.
John Sellers
John Sellers
August 31, 2023.
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August 29, 2023.
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Trey Perrett
Trey Perrett
August 14, 2023.
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