DUI Laws in Texas

DUI Laws in Texas

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DUI laws in the state of Texas are amongst the strictest laws in the country when it comes to drinking and driving. The state does not permit individuals to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substances which may hamper your driving abilities.

Driving under the influence is considered to be a serious offence and violators will be charged with a DUI or a DWI based on the driver’s alcohol/drug intake. 

The term “Driving While Intoxicated” (DWI) is officially used in Texas. However, the term DUI is used along with DWI interchangeably to refer to drunken driving or driving under the influence of drugs.

A driver is considered to be legally drunk in Texas under the follow circumstances: 

  • Drivers operating a commercial vehicle: BAC is .4% or more.
  • Drivers under the age of 21: Any detectable level of alcohol is found in their blood 
  • Non-Commercial drivers: BAC is .8% or more


What happens when you get convicted of a DUI/DWI in Texas?

Below are some of the consequences one might face in Texas after getting charged with a DUI/DWI:

  • Driver’s License Suspension:

The most straightforward consequence of a DUI charge is that your driver’s license will be suspended for a certain period of time even though you haven’t been convicted–unless you take immediate legal action.

  • Jail Sentence:

The jail sentence for a DUI violation in Texas will depend on various factors such as the seriousness of the offence committed, number of previous violations and other factors. As a first time DUI offender, the driver will face a minimum jail time of 10-365 days in jail.

  • Financial consequences:

The most excruciating part of a DUI charge is the exorbitant amount of penalties and fines one has to pay in accordance with the law. There are several other charges such as paying for a DUI school course or an alcohol treatment program which is mandatory for certain offenders.

Additionally, the car you drove while being arrested might also be impounded by the authorities and you may also be required to pay a certain amount for each day it stays in the impound lot. License reinstatement comes with its own fee. And most importantly, having a DUI charge on your driving record will raise the rates of your auto insurance premium.

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Penalties for a DWI conviction in Texas

Offence Count 1st Offence 2nd Offence3rd Offence
Fine$2,000-$4,000Up to $4,000Up to $10,000
License Suspension90-365 Days180 Days-2 years180 Days-2 years
Jail3-180 Days30-365 Days2-10 Years
IID RequirementsOnly required after obtaining a “Occupational License” 1 year (with a prior conviction within 5 years)1 year (with a prior conviction within 5 years)


Implied Consent Law in Texas

The Implied Consent Law in the state of Texas states that drivers who are lawfully arrested for a DWI charge must submit their blood or breath test to the authorities for further examination. Drivers who fail to do so, will have their license suspended. 

Offence Count 1st Offence2nd Offence3rd Offence
License Suspension 6 Months 2 Years 2 Years

Being charged with a DWI without driving in Texas

Drivers in Texas can get charged with a DWI without actually driving a vehicle. This is because by law DWI is defined as operating a vehicle while intoxicated or with a high BAC, so driving is sufficient for conviction but is not necessarily required.

The courts in Texas use the term ‘operate’ in a very broad context and include any action which can affect the functioning of the vehicle in a manner that affects it or enables its use.

Aggravated DUI charges in Texas

In Texas, a driver can be charged with aggravated DUI due to different factors which might lead onto a separate case. If the driver while causing an accident injures another individual or causes property damage, or incurs additional charges, an aggravated DUI is possible. 

SR22 Insurance in Texas

Texas SR22 is a legal certificate needed by drivers who have had their driver’s license suspended. The SR-22 Insurance certificate states that a driver has the state-required car insurance coverage required to have his license reinstated after being convicted of one of a few serious driving infractions, such as

  • DUI, DWI, or other major traffic violations.
  • You were involved in an accident where there was bodily injury, death, or damage to property and the driver did not have minimum liability insurance.
  • When there are unpaid legal judgments
  • Caught without auto insurance or are unable to show proof of insurance to the authorities.
  • When there are excessive violations within a short period of time

Summary:

The most suitable way to avoid getting charged with a DWI violation or having to pay hefty DWI fines is to abstain yourself from driving when you are under the influence of alcohol. But that might not necessarily happen as mistakes are bound to take place-statistics have shown over the years more than 24,000 Texas drivers per year get charged with a DWI violation on average.

We at SR22InsuranceNow aim to provide you with the most accurate and up to date information regarding Texas DUI laws so that you can take the right decision if a certain situation arises.

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