It is illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated – meaning either a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration, or any combination of drugs/alcohol that takes away the driver’s mental or physical faculties. A driver younger than 21 cannot have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.
A first-time DWI is typically a class B misdemeanor, and the punishment can be 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine. The penalties are higher for a second or third offense; if the driver’s blood alcohol concentration is higher than 0.15 percent; if there was a minor in the car; or if anyone was injured in an accident – penalties can be as high as 2-20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine in the most serious situations.
If a driver is convicted, his driver’s license can be suspendedfor up to one year for a first offense, or up to two years for a second or enhanced offense (DPS can also suspend a license if a driver fails or refuses a roadside breath or blood test, but an attorney can help if hired quickly). Being convicted for DWI will also bring three years of surcharges from the Texas Department of Public Safety – ranging from $1,000 – $2,000 a year.
Finally, a conviction (or even probation) cannot be removed from the driver’s conviction history, and may discourage employers or landlords from hiring and/or renting to him in the future. The only way to keep it off your record entirely is to beat the charge