Texas DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)

The Texas Penal Code defines a DWI as an offense that is committed when a person operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated.  If this is a person’s first offense, he or she will be arrested, charged with a Class B misdemeanor, and taken to jail.  The severity of the DWI charge will be enhanced if the person has been convicted of a DWI charge previously.

If a person is found to be intoxicated while operating a motor-vehicle in public, and also has a passenger who is under the age of 15-years, this charge is significantly worse.  The person will face a state jail felony.  State jail felonies are considerably more serious as they carry with them a maximum fine of up to $10,000, up to 2 years in a state jail, and the loss of one’s driver’s license for up to 2 years.  What makes this charge particularly scary is the fact that state jail inmates do not earn time for good behavior, so there is no early release.  If this is not bad enough, being charged with a DWI with a child passenger also carries the possibility that the accused will be charged with felony child endangerment.

Unlike other states, the state of Texas puts all forms of intoxication under the title of DWI.  To be considered intoxicated, a person must lack a degree or normal mental or physical function as a result of using alcohol, controlled substances, or other drugs; or a combination of more two or more of these substances.  In the case of alcohol, a person is considered to be legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol level of 0.08%.  This level can be obtained through breath, blood, or urine.

DWI’s can be incredibly costly.  For a first-time DWI, which is a charge of a Class B misdemeanor, the accused faces a fine up to $2,000, anywhere between 3-180 days in jail, the loss of his or her driver’s license for up to a year, or $1,000 per year fee to retain a driver’s license.  Now, factor in the expense that comes from incident itself; impound fees, towing expenses, bail fees, court costs, possible attorney’s fees, probation costs, driver’s license penalties, and increased insurance costs…suddenly a Class B misdemeanor becomes one of the most costly expenses in a person’s life.

Driving while intoxicated is the most common crime in the state of Texas, and results in the highest rates of arrests.  What many people do not realize is that a DWI offense applies to any type of intoxication, such as illegal drugs, prescription drugs, alcohol, stimulants, tranquilizers and sedatives, and even certain over-the-counter medications; a valid prescription from a doctor does not excuse a person from facing this type of charge.  Here at Bustin’ Out Bail Bonds, we know that there can be some confusion about the DWI charge, as single charge may apply to a number of different violations.  If your friend or loved one has been arrested for DWI, do not delay any longer, call Bustin’ Out Bail Bonds so we can start assisting you through this difficult process; the quicker you act, the faster you can resolve some issues that will arise because of this offense.  We not only provide a service that releases a person from jail, we provide support and information to help you deal with an unfamiliar situation.

Chemical Testing – You’ve Already Given Consent!

In the state of Texas, when a person gets behind the wheel of a vehicle and drives, they have automatically given their consent to be tested for alcohol or other substances if pulled over on the suspicion of DWI.  This is called “implied consent.”  It is implied, when you get behind the wheel of a car and drive, that you have given consent to testing.

  • If you refuse testing, an officer can invoke Administrative License Revocation (ACR) – this is in addition to you arrest.
    • A type of license suspension
    • You will get a 15-day temporary permit to request a hearing
      • Requests after 15-days will be denied
  • If you do not request a hearing within 15-days, your license will automatically become suspended 40-days after your arrest
  • It will eventually cost $125 to get your license back!

What is a DWI in Texas?

A DWI offense occurs when, as a direct result of alcohol, illegal drug, or other controlled substance use, a person experiences impairment of mental and physical motor-skills needed for driving.  To be legally intoxicated, typical adults must have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08%.  If the person is a commercial driver the BAC cannot be over 0.04% if they are driving a company vehicle.  This is an offense that is also committed by minors.  The state of Texas has a very strong stance on the topic of minors and alcohol/substance use; No Tolerance!  Minors, with any trace of detectable alcohol or other substances in their system, will be held accountable.  For adults, being below 0.08% does not necessarily mean you free of trouble.  A person who is not legally intoxicated may still receive a citation from a police officer for “driving while impaired.”

The charge of DWI has many different levels of severity, and different elements that may significantly impact the seriousness of the offense.

  • DWI
  • DWI with Open Container
    • All the same elements as a DWI, but the driver is also found to have an open container of alcohol inside the vehicle
    • DWI with a Child Passenger
      • Driver has a passenger who is under the age of 15 years
      • May face felony child endangerment charges
      • Offense in enhanced from a Class B Misdemeanor to a State Jail Felony
      • Intoxication Manslaughter
        • Killing a person while intoxicated and driving
        • Charge is enhanced to 2nd Degree Felony
      • Intoxication Assault
        • Causing serious bodily injury to someone while driving intoxicated
          • Serious risk of death
          • Serious or permanent disfigurement or loss of body part
          • Injury that seriously or permanently impairs the function of a body part
        • Charge is enhanced to 3rd Degree Felony


DWI Offenses and Minors – Zero Tolerance!

Any person under the age of 21 years old takes a serious risk by possessing and consuming alcohol.  The risk gets incredibly higher if a minors choose to drive with alcohol in their system.  Minors who are age 17 or older risk the chance of facing adult DWI charges.  All minors must remember that Texas has a Zero Tolerance policy when it comes to minors and alcohol!   A few interesting facts regarding DWI and minors:

  • Driving while intoxicated accounts for the #1 killer of teenagers every year in alcohol related crashes
    • 3,500 killed
    • 110,000 seriously injured
    • In a high school with 475 students 2 will be killed or injured because of DWI

Minors who refuse to chemical testing will have their license suspended automatically

  • 1st refusal – license suspended for 180-days
  • 2nd and subsequent refusals – license suspended for 2-years

Penalties for Minors Charged with a Texas DWI

Class C Misdemeanor –

  • License suspended for no more than 2-years
  • Up to a $500 Fine
  • 12-hour alcohol education program
    • Additional license suspension of 180-days if no alcohol program is taken
    • 8- to 40-hours community service
      • 90-day license suspension if judge orders community service
      • This also means the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device which requires the driver to take a chemical test before the vehicle will start

Penalties for Adults Charged with a Texas DWI

1st Offense –

  • Up to a $2,000 fine
  • 3-180 days in jail
    • If also charged with an open container, 6-180 days in jail
    • License suspension up to 2-years
      • Or, an annual fee of $2,000 for 3-years to keep your license
      • Intervention and Prevention education programs
      • Possible Ignition Interlock Device

2nd Offense –

  • Up to a $4,000 fine
  • 1-month to 1-year in jail
  • License suspension up to 2-years
    • Or, an annual fee of $2,000 for 3-years to keep your license
    • Intervention and Prevention education programs
    • Possible Ignition Interlock Device

3rd Offense –

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Incarceration in prison for 2-10 years
    • Possible jail sentence if probation is granted
    • License suspension up to 2-years
      • Or, an annual fee of $2,000 for 3-years to keep your license
      • Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device
        • This device requires drivers to take a chemical test before the vehicle will start

DWI with a Child Passenger (Under 15-years-old) –

  • Up to a $10,000 fine
  • Jail sentence up to 2-years
  • License suspension for 180-days
  • Possible Felony Child Endangerment Charges!

If you, a friend, or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a DWI, call Bustin’ Out Bail Bonds immediately to start the process of recovering from this set-back in life.

Located in Tarrant and Denton Counties

Tarrant County / Fort Worth Office
Bustin Out Bail Bonds
521 N. Riverside Dr.
Fort Worth, TX, 76111

Lic. #215
Denton County Office
Bustin Out Bail Bonds
312 Audra Ln.
Denton, TX, 76209

Lic. #13-28-03