Under Texas law, an individual is legally intoxicated if he or she has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or if he or she is mentally impaired due to the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. Penalties that DWI offenders may face vary based on criminal history and driving record but include:

  • Monetary fines
  • Jail time
  • Driver’s license suspension or revocation
  • Community service
  • Annual fees to retain driver’s license

In addition to these penalties, offenders may face other penalties based on the severity of the situation, as outlined in Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code.

Open Container in Vehicle

Section 49.031 of the Texas Penal Code, Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle, prohibits an individual from having an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped and parked. If a driver that is pulled over and subsequently arrested for a DWI is found to have an open container, or unsealed, of alcohol in his or her car upon the arrest, there will be an additional fine up to $500.

Child Passenger in Vehicle

Under Section 49.045 of the Texas Penal Code, a driver that is charged with a DWI will face the additional charge of Driving While Intoxicated with Child Passenger if there is a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age in the vehicle while it is being operated. If a driver faces a DWI with a Child Passenger, additional fines include:

  • State jail time
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Driver’s license revocation or suspension
  • DWI Assault

Intoxication Assault, Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code, is when an individual causes serious bodily injury to another while also committing a DWI. To be charged with Intoxication Assault, an individual may be operating:

  • An aircraft while intoxicated
  • A watercraft while intoxicated
  • An amusement ride while intoxicated
  • A motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated

Serious Bodily Injury is one that:

  • Creates substantial risk of death
  • Causes permanent disfigurement
  • Causes protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ
  • Intoxication Assault is a third degree felony which may result in penalties listed in Section 12.34 of the Code such as Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a time period of two to ten years and a fine up to $10,000.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Under Section 49.08 of the Code, an individual who operates a motor vehicle in a public place, or operates in aircraft, water craft, or an amusement ride and is intoxicated and causes the death of another by accident or mistake has committed Intoxication Manslaughter. Intoxication Manslaughter is a second degree felony. Section 12.33 outlines the penalties resulting from a second degree felony which include Imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a time period of two to twenty years and a fine up to $10,000.

Have You Been Charged With a DWI?

If you have been charged with a DWI, you may face harsh penalties that will only intensify based on the severity of your situation. It is important that you seek experienced legal defense to guide you through challenging your DWI. The Wilder DWI Defense Firm is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to successfully challenge a DWI. Contact our firm today to schedule your free consultation.