texas dwi laws

Nobody ever dreams of being charged with a DWI. A simple mistake, or even a misunderstanding from law enforcement, can result in devastating penalties. But you should never lose hope. DWI charges can be won if you work with experienced DWI attorneys.

The DWI attorneys at Stephen Bowling have the experience, training, and resources navigating Texas DWI laws and will walk you through the entire process to ensure you get a fair trial. We aim to have your case dismissed, qualified for pre-trial intervention, or given deferred adjudication.

What Qualifies As A DWI Offense In Texas?

The criminal and administrative penalties for DWI offenses in Texas are painful. In court proceedings, you can be convicted of a DWI offense if the prosecutor proves that:

  • You lacked the normal use of mental or physical faculties to operate a vehicle due to an introduction of alcohol, a drug, controlled drug, or a combination of two or more substances into your body.
  • Your breath or blood alcohol concentration exceeded the legal limit of 0.08 percent at the time of arrest

What this means is that you can either be convicted of DWI from alcohol, drugs, or a combination of either, and you can also face DWI charges with a BAC of .08 and above.

What Is The Difference Between A DWI And DUI In Texas?

Although both a DUI and a DWI refers to a person operating a motor vehicle in public while intoxicated, the two terms should not be used interchangeably in Texas. A person above 21 years of age can be charged with a DWI if he or she operates a vehicle while legally intoxicated. However, if the person is under the age of 21, they can be charged with a “DUI.” This is the only officially legal use of the term “DUI” in Texas.

What are the Texas DWI laws in 2021?

DWI-First Offense

In Texas, a first-time DWI conviction is deemed a Class B misdemeanor. In 2021, drivers convicted of DWI must drive with an interlock device for six months on a restricted license under the new state law. The first offense may also attract a fine of up to $2,000, up to 180 days in jail, a loss of driver’s license up to a year, or a combination of two or all of the penalties. These fines do not include a state fine of $3,000 assessed upon sentencing.

DWI- Second Offense

The second DWI offense will see your penalties increase to up to a $4,000 fine. You could also face one month to a year in jail upon conviction and loss of driver’s license for up to two years or a combination of two or all of the penalties. These fines do not include a state fine of $4500 assessed upon sentencing.

DWI Third Offense

For your third DWI offense, penalties increase to up to a $10,000 fine, loss of driver’s license up to two years, two to 10 years in prison, or a combination of two or all of the penalties. The fines do not include a state fine of $6000 assessed upon sentencing.

A conviction for a third DWI is typically considered a felony, meaning that your imprisonment will be in a federal state penitentiary rather than county jail. You will also be disqualified from voting and possessing a firearm.

DWI- Fourth Offense

Being convicted of a DWI offense for the fourth time in the Lone Star state attracts a maximum penalty of a $20,000 fine and 20 years of imprisonment in the federal penitentiary system.

DWI With a Child Passenger

If you drive with a child under 15, you risk being charged with child endangerment. Additionally, you could face a fine of up to $10,000, a two-year jail term, and a loss of driver’s license for another 180 days.

DWI With Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)

A first-time DWI with a commercial driver’s license (CDL) in Texas is considered a Class B Misdemeanor that could attract a fine of up to $3,000, a jail term of up to 180 days, and a suspension of a driver’s license for up to one year. If you are arrested for a DWI offense while ferrying hazardous materials, you could lose your CDL for up to three years. A second or a subsequent offense can lead to a lifetime loss of your CDL life.

Can I Get My DWI Arrest Erased in Texas?

If you have a DWI arrest or conviction history, any interested party who runs a background check on you can easily access this information. This means that a DWI offense may make it difficult for you to secure a job, find a place to live or get a financial loan. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your DWI record from the public.

Our DWI attorneys can file a request to have your arrest, prosecution, and first-time conviction sealed if you qualify. To qualify for expunction, you must meet one of the following qualifications:

  • You were a minor at the time of the DWI arrest
  • The DWI charges were never filed
  • You were found not guilty of the DWI
  • The court dismissed your DWI case
  • You appealed and won your DWI conviction

Get Help to Beat Your DWI Charges

Law enforcement works hard to make DWI charges stick. However, no matter the severity of the charge, do not despair and do not lose hope. You are never alone. We aim to win your case so that you get your freedom back. Our DWI lawyers are skilled and boast of many ways to get you out of a DWI or DUI by recognizing legal flaws or reasonable doubts or in evidence required to convict you.

The DWI attorneys at Stephen Bowling will fight any inaccurate breathalyzer BAC tests, police report errors, and improper police procedures and ensure your charges are dropped or penalties reduced. Speak with us today to find out how we can help.

Austin Office
816 Congress Ave, Suite 950
Austin, Texas 78701

San Antonio Office
700 N St Mary’s St, Suite 1457
San Antonio, Texas 78205