When you are driving in the state of Texas, the legal limit for your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. This number is standard throughout the United States; however, each time you are convicted of a DUI, the penalties dramatically increase, including the amount of a fine you need to pay. If you are under the age of 21,Texas considers it a crime if any amount of alcohol is detectable in your system.
It is also unlawful for you to be driving while you are under the influence of controlled substances, and these include marijuana, cocaine and inhalants.
If you are a Texas resident and you are convicted of your first DUI, you will receive a lesser penalty than others who have been convicted of more than one DUI offense. There are certain factors that will determine the severity of your penalty, such as the amount of your blood alcohol concentration and whether or not a child under the age of 15 was in the vehicle with you at the time of your arrest.
The penalties get progressively more severe with each offense, such as shown below:
A person who is caught driving under the influence in Texas will be jailed for anywhere from 72 hours to 180 days, and if a child under the age of 15 was in the car at the time, the sentence will increase from 180 days to two years. Your license will be suspended anywhere from 90 to 365 days and you will need to perform up to 100 hours of community service. You will also be expected to pay a fine that can be up to $2,000.00.
The second time you are convicted for a DUI brings much more severe penalties. In Texas, you will have to spend an extended time in jail, with the range being from 180 days to two years and the maximum fine is now $4,000.00. The judge overseeing your case has some discretion in his order concerning have you perform community service, which can now range from 80 to 200 hours. With a second offense, installation of a ignition interlock device will take place and you will not be able to start your car if you have a BAC over the state maximum.
The third time you are convicted with a DUI, you will go to jail for two to ten years and you could be fined up to $10,000.00. Your license suspension will last from 180 days to two years. The time you spend doing community service will start at 160 hours but could go as high as 600 hours. Additionally, an ignition interlock device will be installed in your car. This means that again, your car will not start if you do not successfully pass the BAC limit for driving in your state.
Once you receive a third or higher offense, a conviction then moves from a misdemeanor, a less serious offense, to a felony. At that time, the judge can order the driver to attend a rehabilitation program if he feels it is warranted in your situation.
The thing to remember is that if a law enforcement officer asks you to take a breath or blood test, and you refuse, you stand the possibility of having your license being taken from you right then and there, and it can be suspended for up to six months.