In Texas, a person commits the offense of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
The State (District Attorney) can prove intoxication in a Texas DWI case in two different ways:
(1) By proving that the defendant did not have the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of
alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other
substance into the body;
(2) By proving that the defendant had an blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more. The State will try and prove
blood alcohol concentration using the results of blood, breath or urine tests performed by the law enforcement agency
that arrested you.
As in all criminal cases in Texas, the State has the burden of proof and must prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a
reasonable doubt. However, Texas juries tend to be very conservative when dealing with
DWI offenses. That is, Texas juries often lean toward the State going in.
If a jury finds you guilty of DWI, the penalties can be very severe. Also, many of the alternatives to trial
available in other Texas criminal cases are not available in Texas DWI cases. For instance, a defendant in Texas is not
eligible for Deferred Adjudication when charged with DWI. It is more important than ever to obtain the most qualified
legal representation and defense that you can.
Penalties for a conviction of DWI in Texas can include fines, driver's license suspensions and jail time.
A first conviction of DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor. A first offense conviction will include a fine up to $2,000 and/or
jail time of three days to 180 days and a driver's license suspension of 90 to 365 days.
A second conviction of DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor. A second offense conviction can include a fine up to $4000 and/or
jail time from 30 days to 1 year and a driver's license suspension of 180 days to 2 years.
A third conviction of DWI is a 3rd Degree Felony. A third offense conviction can include a fine up to $10,000 and/or
two to ten years in prison and a driver's license suspension of 180 days to 2 years.
Intoxication Assault is a 3rd Degree Felony. Conviction can result in imprisonment for a minimum of two years and
up to a maximum of ten years and can include a fine up to $10,000.
Intoxication Manslaughter is a 2nd Degree Felony. Conviction can result in imprisonment from two to twenty years
and a fine up to $10,000.
Additional Legal and DWI Resources: