This is a visual guide of the Texas Penal Code regarding DWI definitions and laws found in Sections 49.01, 49.031, 49.04, 49.045, 49.07, 49.08, and 49.09 of the Texas Constitution of Statutes. This guide covers sections only relevant to operating a motor vehicle, not including an aircraft, water vessel, or amusement ride.
TexasDWI Penal Code
Alcohol concentration refers to the number of grams of alcohol per:
- 210 liters of breath
- 100 milliliters of blood
- 67 milliliters of urine
The term "intoxicated" means that you lack the normal use of mental or physical faculties as a result of alcohol, drug, or controlled substance use.
An individual who is intoxicated will have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% higher.
The term "open container" refers to a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage that is open, has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.
A person is committing a Class C misdemeanor if he or she knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle on a public road, regardless of whether or not the vehicle is being operated or stopped/parked.
There are a few exceptions:
- the person is in the passenger area of a bus, taxicab, limousine, or any other motor vehicle used primarily for the transportation of passengers for compensation.
- the person is in the living quarters of a camper, motor home, recreational vehicle, or other form of motorized house coach or trailer.
49.04Driving While Intoxicated
A person commits a Class B misdemeanor if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. The minimum term of confinement for this offense is 72 hours.
If the person committing the offense is found possessing an open container, the minimum term of confinement is 6 days.
If the person committing the offense has a BAC of 0.15 or higher, it becomes a Class A misdemeanor.
49.045Drive While Intoxicated with Child Passenger
A person commits a state jail felony if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while the vehicle is occupied by a passenger younger than 15 years of age.
A person commits a felony of the third degree if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place an causes serious bodily injury - creating a substantial risk of death or causing serious permanent disfigurement, protracted loss, or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ - to another person.
A person commits a felony of the second degree if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle and causes the death of another person by accident or mistake.
49.09Enhanced Offenses and Penalties
49.04 and 49.045If a person commits an offense under Sections 49.04 or 49.045 and has been previously convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the minimum term of confinement becomes 30 days.
An offense under Sections 49.04 or 49.045 becomes a felony of the third degree if:
- the person convicted of the offense has been previously convicted of an offense under Section 49.08 - or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense is substantially similar to Section 49.08.
- the person convicted of the offense has been previously convicted two times of any other offense relating to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
49.07 An offense under Section 49.07 becomes a felony of the second degree if:
- the person convicted of the offense caused serious bodily injury to a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.
- if the person convicted of the offense caused serious bodily injury to another in the nature of a traumatic brain injury that results in the persistent vegetative state.
The same offense becomes a felony of the first degree if the person convicted of the offense caused serious bodily injury to a peace officer or judge while in the actual discharge of an official duty.
49.08 An offense under Section 49.08 becomes a felony of the first degree if the person convicted of the offense caused the death of a firefighter, emergency medical services personnel, peace officer, or judge.
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