Every state in the country is increasing the penalties for DUI cases. Texas is one of the strictest states in the country and does not take DUI lightly. With laws always changing, it is a good idea to know the current laws just in case you are arrested while in Texas. However, as always, remember, it is better to NOT drink and drive and avoid this problem altogether.
The standards for BAC in Texas are consistent with other states across the country. If you are under 21, you are considered driving drunk if your BAC is .02 or higher. All drivers that are over 21 and have a BAC of .08 or higher are considered legally drunk. For commercial drivers, the BAC is lowered to .04.
If you are stopped for a DUI, you will be required to take chemical tests to determine your BAC. If you refuse to take these tests, Texas has an Implied Consent Law, which means your license will automatically be suspended. First offense drivers will receive a 180-day suspension. Second and third offense drivers will receive a two-year suspension.
Every convicted drunk driver in Texas will face some jail time. For first time offenders, the penalty will range from three days to 180 days. Second offense drivers get 30 days to a full year. Third offense drivers automatically receive a two-year sentence.
If convicted, you will also receive a suspended license and fines. First time offender’s license suspension can range from 90 days to a full year with up to $2,000 in fines. Second time offenders receive a suspension of 180 days to two full years and a fine of up to $4,000. Third time offenders will have their license suspended from 180 days to two years as well as up to $10,000 in fines. Fines may be increased if a child under the age of 15 is in the car at the time of the arrest.
As you can see, Texas does not take drunk driving very lightly. In addition to the very stiff penalties listed above, Texas does NOT offer a “look back” period. This means that regardless of how long ago your DUI happened, it will always be on your record in Texas. So, that stupid night you had when you were 21 will haunt you for the rest of your driving career. If you are ever arrested again for a DUI, you will be charged with your second offense and face the relevant fines, suspension, and jail time.
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Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.