What is the definition of DWI in Texas?

Texas Penal Code.Texas DWI Key Terms.
49.04(a)
A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

49.01(2)(A).
Intoxicated means not having 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 substances, or any other substance into the body; or

49.01(2)(B).
Intoxicated means having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more[.].

What are the penalties for DWI in Texas?

Texas DWI Criminal History.Offense Level.DWI Fine and Penalty.
DWI-1st
(First-TIme DWI.)
Class B Misdemeanor.Minimum of 3 days in jail and up to 180 days in jail;

Up to a $2,000.00 fine.

*In some cases, a DWI conviction can result in an extra fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000.
DWI-1st with open container.Class B Misdemeanor.Minimum of 6 days in jail and up to 180 days in jail;

Up to a $2,000.00 fine.

DWI-1st with a BAC of .15 or more.Class A Misdemeanor.Up to one (1) year in jail; and

Up to a $4,000.00 fine.

DWI-2nd.Class A Misdemeanor.Minimum of 30 days in jail and up to one (1) year in jail; and

Up to a $4,000.00 fine.

DWI with a child passenger younger than 15 years of age.State-Jail Felony.Minimum of 180 days in state jail and up to two (2) years in state jail; and

Up to a $10,000.00 fine.

DWI-3rd.Third-Degree Felony.Minimum of two (2) years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDC) and up to ten (10) years in TDC.

Up to a $10,000.00 fine.

Does a BAC of .08 or more mean that I am automatically guilty of DWI in Texas?

No. BAC tests carry a lot of weight with juries. However, the State must prove the driver’s BAC was .08 or more at the time of driving. Plus, the State must show the BAC test is trustworthy. And this can cause problems for the State in some cases.

For example, sometimes police get the BAC test an hour or more after the arrest. When this happens, the time gap raises an important question: Does the test taken one hour or more after the arrest show the driver was DWI at the time of driving? In many cases it does not.

Lawyers call this the rising BAC defense. And it may work when the following facts are present:

  • BAC level of .08, .09, .10, .11., or .12;
  • Good DWI video where the driver looks and sounds sober; and
  • There is no accident.

If these facts are present, then they can push a jury to vote not guilty even when the driver is above the legal limit. Nonetheless, this is a judgment call. As a result, the client must weigh the pros and cons of going to trial in these types of cases carefully.

Is jail time mandatory for a first-time dwi in Texas?

Yes. A DWI-1st in Texas carries at least 72 hours in jail. But there is good news. In Bexar County, Texas, most people only spend a night in jail. And the even better news is that the night you spend in jail after your arrest will cover the 72 hour requirement.

Can you get probation for a first-time dwi in Bexar County, Texas?

Yes. Most first-time DWI cases in Bexar County, Texas are misdemeanors. If there is no accident and no one was hurt, then the driver will most likely get probation. But if there is an accident, or if someone was hurt or killed, then jail time may be a real possibility.

What is Bexar County DWI Court?

Bexar County offers a program for repeat DWI drivers. It helps drivers who have a drinking problem or a drug issue. In short, it helps drivers become drug and alcohol free. For more information, call Roberto Ruiz at 210-335-2637. DWI court is also available across Texas.

What should I do after a DWI arrest?

A DWI arrest is a real headache. It can also be scary. However, after a DWI arrest, you should do two things:

  1. Request an ALR Hearing. You have 15 days from the date of your arrest to request this hearing. If you do not request the hearing, then DPS will suspend your license after 40 days. This hearing is important for two reasons. It can prevent DPS from suspending your driver’s license. Second, your lawyer can use it to fight your DWI case.
  2. Start looking for the right DWI lawyer. In San Antonio, you have many good options. Call around and find one that you are comfortable with and fits your budget.

If you have any questions about your DWI or DUI charge, then call us today for a free case consult. You can also send us your questions online.

Law Office of Genaro R. Cortez, P.L.L.C.

730 West Hildebrand Avenue
Suite 2,
San Antonio, Texas 78212
Phone: 210-733-7575
Fax: 210-733-7578
Email: genaro.cortez@cortezlawyer.org