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Ignition Interlock Device Laws in Texas

As a leading provider of ignition interlock devices in Texas, Low Cost Interlock is devoted to making the interlock process as simple and stress-free as possible. With dozens of interlock device installation locations in cities throughout Texas, we ensure you get the service and support you need to complete your ignition interlock program.

Texas Interlock Device Guidelines

We recommend you consult with a credible and local DWI attorney for legal advice. In Texas, the penalties for driving while intoxicated differ by case, but generally speaking Texas defines a DWI (driving while intoxicated/impaired) as:

  • You are legally intoxicated if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more
  • If you show signs of impairment while driving, regardless of blood alcohol concentration

You can suffer two types of suspensions for drinking and driving in Texas.

  1. A judicial suspension, in which the court will convict you of a DWI and suspend your license.
  2. An administrative license revocation (ALR), is when the Texas Department of Public Safety confiscates your license immediately if your BAC is above 0.08 or if you refuse a test. Refusing to take a breathalyzer when lawfully requested by an officer may result in automatic penalties. These can include restricted driving privileges and or fines.

According to Texas law, first-time DWI offenders may be fined up to $2,000, have a jail sentence of up to 6 months, and have a license suspension of up to 1 year. The court also might order an interlock device installation for the period of the license suspension. The ignition interlock device (IID) is a breathalyzer installed into your car that prevents you from being able to start your car if you have been drinking. In some cases, the offender may choose a hard license suspension with no interlock device in Texas. People with occupational licenses, first-time offenses and multiple DUI offenses within 10 years can only operate vehicles that have an ignition interlock device installed.

Texas DUI Penalties

Penalties aside from a required interlock device depend on your case. Generally speaking, these are a few examples of penalties that one can expect:

  • License suspensions are standard, along with fines based on any previous DUI/DWI offenses and your BAC at the time of arrest
  • A second DWI offenses can have fines up to $4,000 with a jail sentence of up to 1 year
  • Three or more types of DWI offenses are considered third-degree felonies, resulting in fines of up to $10,000, a prison sentence of up to 10 years, license suspension of up to 2 years, and 160 to 600 hours of community service
    • You will also have to pay up to $2,000 a year to retain your license as you regain driving privileges

Learn more about Texas DUI laws and penalties here.

General Information

Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs can risk your life and the lives of others, and it can send you to jail.

When am I legally intoxicated?

You are legally intoxicated in Texas when your blood alcohol concentration reaches 0.08%, but you are breaking the law as soon as drugs or alcohol affect your driving — or flying or boating — ability.

What are the penalties for a DWI?

First offense

  • Up to a $2,000 fine.
  • Up to 180 days in jail upon conviction with three mandatory days.
  • Loss of driver license up to a year.

Second offense

  • Up to a $4,000 fine.
  • One month to a year in jail upon conviction.
  • Loss of driver license up to two years.

Third offense

  • A $10,000 fine.
  • Two to 10 years in prison.
  • Loss of driver license up to two years.

These fines do not include a state fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 assessed upon sentencing.

Drunk driving with a child passenger

  • You will be charged with child endangerment if you’re driving drunk with children under 15.
  • You will be additionally fined up to $10,000.
  • You could be put in jail for up to two years.
  • You will lose driver’s license for another 180 days.

Driving with an open container

Carrying an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, even if you’re not drunk, is illegal. Learn more aboutTexas open container laws.


Sec. 49.01. DEFINITIONS. In this chapter:

(1) “Alcohol concentration” means the number of grams of alcohol per:

(A) 210 liters of breath;

(B) 100 milliliters of blood; or

(C) 67 milliliters of urine.

(2) “Intoxicated” means:

(A) not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or

(B) having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.

(3) “Motor vehicle” has the meaning assigned by Section 32.34(a).


(1) “Open container” means a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed.

(2) “Passenger area of a motor vehicle” means the area of a motor vehicle designed for the seating of the operator and passengers of the vehicle. The term does not include:

(A) a glove compartment or similar storage container that is locked;

(B) the trunk of a vehicle; or

(C) the area behind the last upright seat of the vehicle, if the vehicle does not have a trunk.

(3) “Public highway” means the entire width between and immediately adjacent to the boundary lines of any public road, street, highway, interstate, or other publicly maintained way if any part is open for public use for the purpose of motor vehicle travel. The term includes the right-of-way of a public highway.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person knowingly possesses an open container in a passenger area of a motor vehicle that is located on a public highway, regardless of whether the vehicle is being operated or is stopped or parked. Possession by a person of one or more open containers in a single criminal episode is a single offense.

(c) It is an exception to the application of Subsection (b) that at the time of the offense the defendant was a passenger in:

(1) the passenger area of a motor vehicle designed, maintained, or used primarily for the transportation of persons for compensation, including a bus, taxicab, or limousine; or

(2) the living quarters of a motorized house coach or motorized house trailer, including a self-contained camper, a motor home, or a recreational vehicle.

(d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

(e) A peace officer charging a person with an offense under this section, instead of taking the person before a magistrate, shall issue to the person a written citation and notice to appear that contains the time and place the person must appear before a magistrate, the name and address of the person charged, and the offense charged. If the person makes a written promise to appear before the magistrate by signing in duplicate the citation and notice to appear issued by the officer, the officer shall release the person.

Sec. 49.04. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED. (a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

(b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

(c) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that at the time of the offense the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.

(d) If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

Added by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, Sec. 14.55, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

Sec. 49.045. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED WITH CHILD PASSENGER. (a) A person commits an offense if:

(1) the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and

(2) the vehicle being operated by the person is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.

(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 787, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.