A first driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense can occur when an individual has an alcohol concentration level over the legal limit or when their normal mental or physical abilities are impaired, even though they may feel they are perfectly capable of driving. Typically, the legal limit in Texas is equivalent to two alcoholic drinks, depending on a person’s body type and weight, amount of food they have consumed and how long they have been drinking.
If you are charged with a first DWI in Texas (commonly referred to as driving under the influence or DUI in many other parts of the country), you can receive very serious penalties if convicted, including possible jail time, steep fines, a driver’s license suspension, increased auto insurance rates, a mark on your criminal record and/or possible limits on educational and professional opportunities.
Warning: If you have refused to submit to chemical testing or failed a blood or breath intoxication test for DWI, you only have 15 days to request an administrative license suspension to get your license back.
Lawyer for a First DWI in Dallas, TX
If you have been charged with a first DWI in Dallas or the surrounding areas in the DFW Metroplex, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
The attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are familiar with special rules and procedures that apply to a first-time DWI case in Dallas County, and all of the surrounding counties in Texas, including Wise County, Kaufman County, Parker County, Grayson County, Rockwall County, Johnson County or Ellis County.
Attorney Richard McConathy is knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’ driving while intoxicated laws and will make every effort to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your particular situation.
Call Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700 about your first alleged DWI offense.
Information Center for a First DWI
- Driving While Intoxicated in Texas
- Definition of Intoxicated in Texas
- Operating a Motor Vehicle in Texas
- Blood Alcohol Concentration Level (BAC) in a DWI Case
- Penalties for a First DWI Conviction in Texas
- Resources for a First DWI in Texas
Driving While Intoxicated in Texas
According to section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with a first driving while intoxicated, DWI, or DUI offense throughout Texas if they are intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
Many individuals who are charged with a first DWI believe they can drive, but unfortunately, blow over the legal limit. The legal limit in Texas is set at .08, which is a low level and often leads to many DWI charges, even though many individuals are probably able to drive in a safe manner.
A first DWI conviction can be increased to a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum jail sentence of six days if the individual had an open alcoholic container in their vehicle at the time they were arrested for the offense.
Definition of Intoxicated in Texas
Under Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 49.01(2), “intoxicated” is defined as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of the substances listed or any other substance in the body. An individual can also be charged with a DWI for having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.
If an individual has an alcohol concentration that is .08 or higher, they are considered per se intoxicated. This means they will be arrested for DWI, no matter what, if their alcohol level is .08 or higher.
Operating a Motor Vehicle in Texas
A motor vehicle is defined in Texas under Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 49.01(a) as something a person or property may be transported in, on or by, except for devices that are used exclusively on stationary rails or tracks, including railroads.
For an individual to operate a motor vehicle, they must have actual physical control of the vehicle. This means the individual must be physically in the vehicle or near the car and have the capability to operate the auto, regardless of whether they were actually driving when they were arrested.
Blood Alcohol Concentration Level (BAC) in a DWI Case
The legal alcohol limit in Texas is an alcohol concentration of .08 or higher. This is commonly referred to as blood alcohol concentration or blood alcohol content (BAC). Alcohol concentration is defined in Texas under Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 49.01(1) as the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, 100 milliliters of blood, or 67 milliliters of urine.
This is a very low limit and can be reached when a person drinks a minimal amount of alcoholic beverages.
For example, if a woman in Texas drinks one drink in one hour and weighs 100 pounds, her BAC is likely at .05 – this is three one-hundredths away from the legal limit. If she consumes two drinks in one hour, her BAC is probably around a .09, which puts her over the legal limit, and probably will be arrested for DWI if she operates a motor vehicle.
A man who weighs 180 pounds and drinks four drinks in one hour likely has a BAC of .08, which puts him at the legal limit, and is likely to be arrested for DWI if he subsequently operates a motor vehicle.
One drink in Texas is considered a 1.5 ounce shot of 80 proof liquor (or 40% alcohol by volume), one 12 ounce beer (or 4.5% alcohol by volume), or one 5 ounce glass of wine (or 12% alcohol by volume).
Penalties for a First DWI Conviction in Texas
A first DWI in Texas can result in a Class B misdemeanor charge, which is punishable by a mandatory minimum term of 72 hours in jail and a maximum of 180 days in jail, according to Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. Additional punishments for a first DWI can include any of the following:
- A fine of up to $2,000,
- Installation of an ignition interlock device,
- Community supervision,
- Community service up to 200 hours,
- Monthly reporting to a probation officer,
- Requirements to attend an approved alcohol or drug education program,
- DWI school,
- Court costs, and/or
- A criminal record.
Additionally, a person who is convicted of a DWI can receive a driver’s license suspension from 90 days to one year. The date of suspension must begin on a date set by the court not to begin before the date of conviction and not later than the 30th day after the date of conviction.
Resources for a First Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas
Texas Constitution and Statutes – This link is to section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code, which defines driving while intoxicated in Texas and the potential penalties for a conviction. The Texas Penal Code contains all of the criminal laws in Texas; Chapter 49 pertains to all of the state’s intoxication laws.
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles – The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for registering and titling vehicles in the state, regulating motor carrier operating authority, and helping law enforcement agencies reduce auto theft to increase public driving awareness. A Dallas County regional service center is located at:1925 E. Beltline Rd., Suite 100
Carrollton, Texas 75006
Phone: (972) 417-0884
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is a state agency that regulates the alcoholic beverage industry throughout Texas. This link provides access to DUI-related laws in the state, Blood Alcohol Percentage charts, and common signs of intoxication. A local field office is located at:TABC
2225 East Randol Mill Road, Suite 200
Arlington, Texas 76011
Phone: (817) 652-5912
Mothers Against Drunk Driving – This national nonprofit organization aims to prevent individuals from drinking and driving, stop drunk driving, prevent accidents that can result from driving under the influence, and provide support to individuals who are victims of alcohol-related accidents.
Find a First DWI Attorney in Dallas | Law Offices Of Richard C. McConathy
Contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your first DUI in Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, McKinney, or the surrounding communities. Richard McConathy is an experienced Dallas DWI attorney who will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions.
This article was last updated on Friday, November 9, 2018.