Drunk Driving and Look back laws in Texas

Information for Washout periods in Texas


Washout periods or look back periods vary by state. In the state of Texas the look back period for drunk driving is 10 years. If a driver has been arrested for drunk driving and it is more than 10 years from a previous drunk driving charge, the second DWI arrest is considered their first DWI arrest. What does this mean? It means the old DWI arrest has “dropped off” the driver’s record and is no longer used to increase the DWI penalties for subsequent DWI arrests.

If, however, the driver has a prior Texas drunk driving conviction less than 10 year look back period from the current drunk driving offense, this current drunk driving arrest is considered their second DWI (or more).

If you have been arrested for drunk driving in Texas but your DWI arrest was more than the 10 year look back period, you could be facing the following DWI penalties:

  • Payment of fines up to $2,000 (up to $10,000 if child under the age of 15 is in the car)
  • License suspension 90 to 365 days
  • DWI surcharge $1,000 per year for 3 years
  • Jail term for 72 hours to 180 days

If you have been arrested for a second drunk driving offense and your last Texas DWI was within 10 years, you could be facing the following DWI penalties:

  • Payment of a DWI fine up to $4,000 ($10,000 if child under the age of 15 is in the car)
  • Jail term of 30 days to 1 year
  • License suspension for 180 days to 2 years
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device
  • Addition insurance requirements (Texas SR22 insurance)
  • DWI surcharge $1,500 per year for 3 years

Drunk driving arrests in Texas are serious. If you need help fighting your DWI arrest, contact a DUI lawyer.

Texas Drunk Driving Laws


Texas defines drunk driving as driving while intoxicated (DWI). A driver may be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol content is 0.08% or higher or if their blood alcohol content is lower than 0.08% if the state can prove that they consumed either drugs or alcohol to such a degree that their mental and physical capabilities were compromised and they were not able to safely operate a motorized vehicle (vehicle can include not only a car but also a boat or airplane.

Many Texas drivers do not realize that if you have a driver’s license you have given your implied consent to submit to blood alcohol content test if asked to do so by a police officer. If you refuse, your license will be automatically suspended for at least 90 days. This is called an Administrative License Suspension.

Interstate Drivers License Compact


Texas drivers often wonder what happens if they are arrested for drunk driving in another state. Like most other states, Texas is a member of the Interstate Drivers License Compact. If you are arrested in one state for drunk driving, the state where you are arrested with notify Texas. Depending on the driving infraction, your Texas license may be cancelled.

If you have live in another state and have suspended driver’s license, if you move to Texas you will not be eligible for a Texas Driver’s License. Review Texas Transportation Code 521.201, 37 Texas Administrative Code 15.87 (2) for more information

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Beth L. is a content developer for LeadRival, a cutting edge company that helps connect DUI lawyers with DUI clients. Beth L. writes about a variety of DUI topics to help drivers who have been arrested for DUI, getting them the legal help they need.

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