Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)


About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol. We urge you to take responsibility for your actions. Don't drink and drive.

How Much Is Too Much?

Impairment begins with the first drink. Your gender, body weight, the number of drinks you've consumed and the amount of food you've eaten affect your body's ability to handle alcohol. Two or three beers in an hour can make some people legally intoxicated. Women, younger people and smaller people generally become impaired with less alcohol.

The Law on DWI

In Texas, a person is legally intoxicated and may be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) with a .08 BAC (blood or breath alcohol concentration). However, a person is also intoxicated if impaired due to alcohol or other drugs regardless of BAC. Whether you're the driver or the passenger, you can be fined up to $500 for having an open alcohol container in a vehicle.

DWI with a Child Passenger

You can be charged with child endangerment for driving while intoxicated if you're carrying passengers younger than 15 years old. DWI with a child passenger is punishable by:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Up to two years in a state jail
  • Loss of your driver license for 180 days

What Happens if You're Stopped

If you're stopped, be ready to show your driver license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration. If you refuse to take a blood or breath test, your driver license will be automatically suspended for 180 days.

Punishment for DWI varies depending on the number of convictions:

First Offense

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Three days to 180 days in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to a year
  • Annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

Second Offense*

  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • One month to a year in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

Third Offense*

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 for three years to retain driver license

*After two or more DWI convictions in five years, you must install a special ignition switch that prevents your vehicle from being operated if you've been drinking.

How to Stay Safe

  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Designate a driver.
  • Call a cab.
  • Spend the night where you are, if possible.

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