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Sentence Enhancements for DUI in Texas

Under Texas law there are three sentence enhancements for DUIs: when the passenger is less than fifteen (15) years old, when the motorist has a blood alcohol content of 0.16 or higher, when the motorist or the passenger has an open alcohol container in the vehicle at the time of the offense, and when the motorist refuses to take a chemical test.

If a motorist is convicted of a DUI and a minor under fifteen (15) year old was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the offense, his or her jail sentence is enhanced to no less than 180 days and no more than two (2) years, the maximum fine also raises to $10,000. If this was motorist’s second DUI conviction, his or her jail time will be enhanced to no less than 180 days and no more than two (2) years. Additionally, the maximum fine rises to $10,000. The age of the passenger is the age of passenger at the time of the incident not his or her age at the time of trial.

If motorist is convicted of a DUI and has a blood alcohol content of 0.15 or higher, Texas law requires judges to raise the DWI surcharge the offender must pay as part of his or her restitution. In the case of both first and second time offenses the DWI surcharge is raised to $2,000.

Enhanced Penalty Blood-Alcohol Concentration in Texas

Under Texas law, if a motorist is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, the court must use a concentration of alcohol in the person’s blood of 0.16 blood alcohol content or higher as a salient factor that justifies enhancing the penalties with regard to the DWI surcharges applied to the offender.

While a high blood-alcohol concentration may also be used as a factor in determining sentencing as it relates to jail time, community service, and fines, judges has zero discretion in the enhancement of DWI surcharges.


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