Texas DWI & Distracted Driving Laws

Texas DWI laws

First offense

The first DWI offense is a class B misdemeanor in Texas. However, if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is above .15, it's considered a class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face:

  • A fine up to $2,000.
  • Three days to 180 days in jail.
  • Loss of driver's license for up to one year.
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain your driver's license.
  • The court must order an ignition interlock for the period of the license suspension; however, you may be able to choose a hard suspension (meaning no driving at all) with no interlock.

Second offense

The second DWI offense is a class A misdemeanor. If you are convicted of a second offense, you could face the following fines and penalties:

  • A fine up to $4,000.
  • One month to one year in jail.
  • Loss of driver's license up to a year.
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain driver's license.
  • The court must order an ignition interlock for the period of the license suspension, however, you may be able to choose a hard suspension (meaning no driving at all) with no interlock.

Third offense

Third and subsequent offenses are third degree felonies. If you are convicted of a third or subsequent offense, you could face the following fines and penalties:

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Two to 10 years in prison.
  • Loss of driver's license for up to two years.
  • Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 for three years to retain your driver's license.
  • The court must order an ignition interlock for the period of the license suspension; however, you may be able to choose a hard suspension (meaning no driving at all) with no interlock.

DWI penalty sources: Texas Department of Transportation and the National Conference of State Legislatures

Distracted driving laws in Texas

Prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phone while driving Yes
All cellphone ban Only for school bus drivers
All cellphone use banned for novice drivers Yes, for drivers under 18
Text messaging ban while driving All drivers
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association

Posted Feb. 13, 2019