State Laws

Texas DUI Laws


Texas DUI Basics
In the state of Texas driving while intoxicated charges are considered Class B Misdemeanor offenses. This kind of misdemeanor is given only when an individual is convicted for a first or second offense. According to Texas law, driving while intoxicated charges are only given when an individual operates a motor vehicle in a public area while he or she is intoxicated.

All drunken driving cases are handle by jury trials; however an individual may request a judge at his or her own discretion. In order for a driving while intoxicated charge to withstand, the prosecuting attorney must prove to the jury that the individual was guilty of all portions of the charge.

In Texas in order for an individual to be convicted he or she must have committed all three portions of a driving while intoxicated charge. These include the operation of a motor vehicle, doing so in a public area, and in certain counties while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Public areas include parking lots, highways, beaches, and streets.

Texas law also defines intoxication as not having full capabilities of the body -- physically, mentally, or both -- while under the influence of substances -- alcohol, drugs, or both. Intoxication also can include having a blood alcohol content that is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent or being intoxicated by a prescribed substance.

When an individual obtains a driver's license, he or she gives common consent to submit to chemical testing when requested by a police officer. If an individual refuses to submit to chemical testing, he or she will automatically have his or her driver's license suspended. This kind of suspension will withstand even if the individual is not convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Driving under the influence convictions are based on the number of prior offenses. The more offenses an individual has on his or her record, the more severe his or her punishment will become. A first offense can earn up to seventy-two hours in jail, a fine up to two thousand dollars along with any fees, conditional driver's license suspension, mandatory attendance to a twelve-hour DWI education program, probation, and twenty-four hours of mandatory community service or up to one hundred hours.

A second driving while intoxicated offense is considered a Class A Misdemeanor, while a third driving while intoxicated offense is considered a felony in the third degree. Fines increase to four thousand dollars along with incarceration up to ten years. An individual's driver's license will thus be suspended for up to two years and community service will increase to no more than two hundred hours.

Aggravated Circumstances
Driving while intoxicated offense can also heavily increase when certain circumstances are involved in the crime. Aggravating factors include having a minor in the motor vehicle, driving a commercial vehicle with a 0.04 percent blood alcohol content, being under the age of twenty-one, having an open container, causing another injury, and causing the death of another. When a minor is under the age of fifteen, an offense will increase from a misdemeanor offense to a felony offense automatically, even if it is a first offense.

See also:
Texas Gun Laws
Texas Divorce
Texas Bankruptcy Laws
Texas Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)
Texas Misdemeanor External link (opens in new window)
Texas Expungement External link (opens in new window)