Yes, drunk driving is a criminal offense in Texas.
Penalties for Drunk Driving in Texas
Depending on the charges that are filed against you, you may be facing penalties under TX § 12.1:
- First offense (class B misdemeanor): Up to six months in jail and a fine up to $2,000
- Second offense (class A misdemeanor): Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000
- Third offense (third-degree felony): Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Intoxication assault (DWI accident that causes injuries): Up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Intoxication manslaughter (DWI accident that causes death): Up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
Additional Non-Criminal Penalties
Besides the fines, jail time, and license suspension, if you get a felony conviction on your record, you may be unable to:
- Find or keep a job
- Own and use firearms
- Get a mortgage or any type of loan
- Obtain professional licensure
- Serve on a jury
Administrative License Revocation Hearing
While drunk driving is a criminal offense in Texas, you will also face other penalties, such as a license suspension. The length of the suspension depends on whether this is your first offense or not.
- First offense: Between 90 days and one year
- Second offense: Between 180 days and two years
- Third offense: Between six months and two years
- Intoxication assault: Between six months and two years
- Intoxication manslaughter: Between six months and two years
To fight the suspension, you can request an administrative license revocation (ALR) from the Texas Department of Public Safety. This hearing determines whether you will keep your driving privileges. The hearing request must be made within 15 days after you DWI arrest. For most of us, losing our driving privileges impacts getting to work, picking children up from school, shopping for food, and many other activities where you must have a motor vehicle to get around. A lawyer can accompany you to the hearing.
Refusing to Take a Breathalyzer Test
You have the right not to take a blood or breathalyzer test if you are arrested. However, Texas’ implied consent laws require that all drivers that are arrested for DWI submit to chemical testing to determine your BAC or presence of drugs in your system.
There are consequences for refusing to take the test, including possible fines, jail time, and a license suspension. The penalties, fines, and jail times increase if you have had prior convictions for DWI or refusals.
Eddington Worley Attorneys Can Help
We are familiar with the DWI laws in Texas and know how to challenge the state’s evidence. There are several defenses to a DWI charge, regardless of whether you took sobriety tests or refused. It is important to remember that you are innocent until you are proven guilty. Some of the ways an attorney can challenge your arrest may include:
- Investigating your case from every angle;
- Making sure your constitutional rights were not violated;
- Challenging the field sobriety tests;
- Challenging the blood test;
- Challenging the breathalyzer test;
- Suppressing inadmissible evidence; and,
- Challenging the arresting officer’s testimony.
Fighting a DWI Charge
Attempting to fight a DWI charge by yourself can be difficult. The laws relating to driving while intoxicated are complex and multi-layered, especially if other charges are added. DWI attorneys can use the services of expert witnesses such as scientists, DNA specialists, chemists, accident reconstruction experts, and field sobriety test experts to create reasonable doubt and fight for a dismissal or reduction of charges.
If you have been charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, do not leave your defense up to just anyone. Call the legal team at Eddington Worley Attorneys at (855) 600-6695 for a free case consultation. They know that drunk driving is a criminal offense in Texas and will do everything possible to give you the most strategic and effective defense available. The legal team at Eddington Worley PC at (855) 600-6695 will know how to help. Call them for a free case review and consultation.