Texas Statutes for Drunk Driving Charges

Every state has multiple laws on the books that offer a breadth of punishments for persons who are convicted of driving while intoxicated. These penalties usually include a combination of jail or prison time, fines and the loss of driving privileges. In some cases it may require a person to wear a tether or perform community service of some type. Under different circumstances, the convicted individual may be given an adjudicated sentence or probation. Let us consider the more common sentences for those who are found guilty of drunk driving in Houston.

In general, Texas lawmakers are inclined to lean towards the belief that severe punishments should be in place to deter drunk driving. Unfortunately, the truth is that this state leads the nation in drunk driving fatalities and our local Harris county is number one for drunk driving deaths in the state. This is sobering news for lawmakers who are not pleased to hold this record. So prosecutors and law enforcement continue to develop more statutes and programs with the hope that something will help us lose this unpleasant distinction.

Developments of The Statutes

For instance, a first-time conviction for drunk driving can carry with it a jail sentence of up to 6 months and a hefty two thousand dollar fine. In addition, the guilty person’s license can be suspended for up to one year. Be aware that a person who was found guilty of driving while intoxicated with a child in their car can face up to two years in prison and a ten thousand dollar fine. This is a much more severe set of penalties than any of our neighboring states have on their ‘books’. For instance, in one state the fine for the conviction is only one thousand dollars and jail time may be as minimal as a month. In yet another bordering state both the fine and jail time amount to a quarter of those in Texas. However, all include various and sundry surcharges and exceptions.

A second drunk driving conviction in Texas will result in stiffer punishment including a doubling of the fines and the requirement that an ignition interlock device be installed in the guilty person’s vehicle. A third conviction does not appear to be much different.

The legal limit at which a person is considered intoxicated is ‘0.08’ in the state of Texas and across the country. Commercial truck drivers are considered intoxicated if their blood alcohol content is ‘0.04’ or half of private drivers. Drivers under the age of twenty-one are prohibited from drinking at all.

Usually in the excitement of getting a driver’s license most people are not aware that in the state of Texas it comes with what is called ‘implied consent’. It may not seem important until you are pulled over for a suspected DWI and then asked to agree to a blood alcohol or chemical test to validate the presence of drugs or alcohol. To refuse this test means the state would automatically suspend your driving privileges. Don’t drive drunk.