Texas DWI Laws

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Just a few short years ago, a Texas DWI was commonplace. Unfortunately for Texans, their state leads the nation in accidents and deaths that resulted because of driving while intoxicated (DWI). In 2019, Texas DWI related accidents resulted in 1,332 deaths. Texas DWI laws are now some of the toughest in the nation. This focus on DWI offenses by law enforcement is a major push in the effort to get drunk drivers off the roads.

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)

If you are stopped by an officer for suspicion of DWI, they will probably ask you to take a field sobriety test and a chemical test. There are three field sobriety tests:

  • The horizontal gaze test
  • The walk and turn test
  • The one leg stand

These DWI tests are designed to measure your physical and mental acuteness. If asked to take these tests, you have the right to politely decline. The officer may also ask you to take a chemical test. This test is usually administered to measure you Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

Texas DWI laws basically state that whenever you drive, you are consenting to take an alcohol or drug test, if a police officer deems it necessary. If you do not consent (even politely) to the chemical test after 41 days, your license will be suspended for 180 days. If you have a previous in-state Texas DWI, your license will be suspended for two years. Also, your drivers license will be confiscated at the time of the arrest.

If you are stopped for suspicion of DWI in Texas, there are two definitions of being intoxication to be aware of:

  1. A driver can be arrested for DWI in Texas if that person does 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. Having a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .08 or more.

Texas DWI Law Penalties – First Offense

If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, the law assesses harsh penalties.

  • Jail: Minimum 72 hours, or 6 days if open container is present
  • Fine of up to $2,000
  • A surcharge of $1,000 per year for three years for a first DWI offense
  • A possible 1 year suspension of driving
  • Community service of at least 24 hours but not more than 100 hours
  • If a driver gets a second Texas DWI conviction, the penalties are even higher.

Penalties for Second Texas DWI Conviction

  • Jail: 72 hours, not more than 1 year
  • Fines of up to $4,000
  • A surcharge of $1,500 per year for three years for a second DWI offense
  • A drivers license suspension of 180 days to 2 years
  • Community service of at least 80 hours but not more than 200 hours
  • A 32 hour “Texas DWI” repeat offender program.

Third Texas DWI Arrest

If a driver is convicted of a third Texas DWI, the penalties become even harsher and time in the state penitentiary would be possible. In addition to the penalties imposed by the state, there are other consequences that can be “both humiliating and expensive.”

  • Large attorney’s fees
  • The extra cost of paying for SR 22 insurance coverage
  • The humiliation of having a DWI on your driving record

Purchasing SR-22 Insurance

Texas DWI law requires SR22 insurance as one of the consequences of being convicted of a DWI in Texas, if you want to drive.

SR-22 is not a special insurance, rather it is a certificate that is issued by the state, which proves that you have met minimum liability insurance requirements. There are many insurance agents/insurance companies that will sale you this coverage. When you look to purchase SR 22 insurance, you will find that the premiums are higher for this coverage than for ordinary coverage’s. This is because you are considered to be an high risk driver.

There is still no reason to pay more than you need to. You can use the free insurance rate comparison portal above to gather quotes from a multitude of insurance companies. You can then compare quotes and coverage’s side by side to determine which insurer gives you the best coverage for the most affordable price.

When you purchase SR22 coverage remember two things:

  1. Compare quotes from a variety of companies. Often times the price of the same insurance coverage can vary widely from company to company
  2. Purchase your insurance from a reputable company that has a good customer service record.

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