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In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) means drunk driving, and the state uses your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to determine whether you're too intoxicated to operate a motor vehicle.

Below are the state's BAC limits:

21 years old or older: 0.08%

Commercial drivers: 0.04%

Younger than 21 years old: any detectable amount.

Alcohol can affect you based on the number of drinks you've had, your body weight, and even your gender. 

TX DWI penalties are based on factors like age, license type, and other circumstances (such as having other passengers in the vehicle, or horrific events like death).

Common DWI penalties you can expect include:

Fines and surcharges (also tack on court costs and lawyer fees).

License suspension or revocation.

Community service.

Imprisonment (even for a 1st offense).

DWI education and intervention programs.

More expensive car insurance, depending on your provider.

1st and 2nd DWIs, License Suspensions


Theft, Shoplifting, Assault, Family Violence, Drug Possession, Criminal Mischief, Trespass


Misdemeanor Penalties:

Class A: Not more than 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000

Class B: Not more than 180 days in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,000

Class C: A fine of not more than $500



Felony Penalties:

First degree felony: 5-99 years or life; $10,000 fine

Second-degree felony: 2-20 years; $10,000 fine

Third-degree felony: 2-10 years; $10,000 fine

State jail felony: 180 days to 2 years; $10,000 fine


3rd DWIs, Aggravated Assault, Burglary, Sex Assault, Injury to Elderly/Child, POCS


A criminal appeal is essentially a review of a trial to ascertain whether or not it was fair. What the appeal court does is review the actions taken by the trial judge, and specifically whether any rulings made either before or during the trial were correct.

Article 44.02 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure provides a criminal defendant the opportunity to appeal a conviction. This can begin in a number of ways. There are post-verdict motions available to a defendant. 

Rule of Appellate Procedure 21.3 provides the ground to file a Motion for New Trial. There are several grounds listed in Rule 21.3 for which a Motion must be granted. A defendant wishing to file a Motion for New Trial must file the motion within 30 days of the date the court imposes or suspends sentence in open court according to Rule 21.4. 

Pursuant to Rule 26.2, a Notice of Appeal must be filed by a defendant within 30 days after the sentence is imposed or suspended by the court, or after the day the court enters an appealable order, or within 90 days if the defendant files a timely Motion for New Trial.

Following this stage, the appellate court will docket the case for appeal and issue briefing schedules for the parties. These are the schedules denoting when each side's appellate brief is due with the court of appeals. Each party must submit written briefs arguing and supporting their propositions of law on appeal. Oral argument may be requested and granted by the appellate court. 

The initial appeal is directed to the respective Court of Appeals for the Judicial District within which the trial court is located. There are currently 14 Courts of Appeals in Texas. Most of the Metroplex and surrounding area is located within two Courts of Appeals' jurisdiction; the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth and the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas. For a map of the all of the Courts of Appeals in Texas, click here.

Following the direct appeal, a defendant can petition for review to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, or the Texas Supreme Court for Juvenile cases. The Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest appellate court for criminal cases. Juvenile cases are civil in nature, and are reviewed by the Supreme Court. In order to seek review by either court, a defendant (or respondent in the juvenile cases) must submit a Petition for Discretionary Review to the Court. This Petition essentially asks the Court to consider the the appeal. If the Petition is granted, then both sides are then allowed to brief the case just as they did at the Court of Appeals. The only cases in Texas that are automatically accepted, and in fact do not need a PDR for acceptance at the Court of Criminal Appeals, are death penalty cases. In fact, death penalty cases automatically are appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals without the necessity of being first heard in the respective Court of Appeals.

Petitions for Discretionary Review, Appellate Briefs, Writs of Habeas Corpus

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