Don’t Mess with Texas DWIs on Labor Day

Posted by Doug Murphy | Sep 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Every year, the Texas Department of Safety steps up enforcement over the Labor Day weekend. The three-day weekend results in more people on the road, parties, and more people drinking and driving. During Labor Day 2019, the Texas DPS reported handing out more than 102,000 citations and warnings. DPS also made 489 driving while intoxicated arrests, 358 fugitive arrests, and 354 felony arrests.

Police across the state announced in advance that they would step up enforcement during a weekend that traditionally has more drunk drivers on the road. The numbers for 2020 aren't in yet, but police in Harris County arrested 30 people for DWI in just one small area of the county over the Labor Day weekend.

What is DWI?

A Texas driver with a blood alcohol content higher than .08% is legally intoxicated, and police can charge them with driving while intoxicated (DWI). But a driver is also intoxicated if they are driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol regardless of blood alcohol content. See Tex. Penal Code § 49.04. This offense is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a minimum of 72 hours in jail. If your blood alcohol content exceeds .15%, it is a Class A misdemeanor.

Police can also fine you up to $500 for having an open container of alcohol in your car, whether you are the driver or the passenger. Driving while intoxicated and with an open container of alcohol is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a minimum of six days in jail.

Moreover, if you are driving while intoxicated and have passengers younger than 15, penalties increase to:

  • A fine of up to $10,000;
  • Up to two years in jail; and
  • Loss of your driver's license for up to 180 days.

DWI Punishments



Jail Time

License Suspension

First Offense

Up to $2,000

3 to 180 days

Up to a year

Second Offense

Up to $4,000

1 month to a year

Up to 2 years

Third Offense


2 to 10 years

Up to 2 years

After two or more DWI convictions in five years, you must install a device on your car that prevents it from starting if you've been drinking.

Charged with DWI?

If the police pull you over for a suspected DWI, be prepared to offer your driver's license, proof of insurance, and registration. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer or blood test, the state will automatically suspend your license for 180 days.

If you're facing a DWI, you need a skilled criminal defense and DWI attorney. Attorney Doug Murphy is board-certified in DWI defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He has extensive experience defending clients in a wide range of criminal cases and is a Texas criminal defense community leader. U.S. News and World Report included Murphy on their Best Lawyers in America list every year from 2013 to 2020. Contact our office today for a case evaluation.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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