Impaired Driving in Texas 2023: How Much Alcohol Can You Drink and Drive?

Drink and drive laws in Texas

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level in Texas is 0.08% (80 mg alcohol per 100 ml of blood). Even if you have a BAC of less than 0.08%, you may be arrested if your driving ability is affected by alcohol or other substances.

Commercial vehicle drivers are prohibited from driving if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.04% or above. Drivers under 21 are also considered legally intoxicated with any level of BAC. 

Violations of this state law will result in a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge. 

A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% is commonly achieved or exceeded with one to two standard alcoholic beverages. However, because BAC varies depending on factors such as weight and gender, this value should only be used as a guideline.

It is essential to note that this article aims to raise awareness about drunk driving and Texas’s impaired driving laws. This page does not endorse driving while intoxicated in any state or region.

In 2021, 1,029 people died, and 2,522 were seriously injured in Texas because of impaired driving.

Texas experienced 872 DUI-alcohol-related traffic crashes during spring break of 2021. There were 30 fatalities and 107 severe injuries due to these collisions.

You should not drive when drunk. If you must travel after drinking, take an Uber, a designated driver service, or a cab.

Texas has DUI laws to help minimize the number of accidents caused by intoxicated driving. State law enforcement actively works to prevent drunk driving in Texas.

It is critical to follow drunk driving rules. If you really must drive, you should first test your blood alcohol level. An alcohol breathalyzer can be used to determine your blood alcohol level.

For more information about DUI driving restrictions, we recommend visiting the official website of Texas’s Department of Transportation.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Texas

Alcohol can impair judgment by slowing reaction times, compromising eyesight, lowering reflexes, and altering the perception of distance and speed.

These events can occur even if you do not appear or feel drunk. Symptoms of alcohol intoxication may appear as soon as you take your first drink.

Within 30 minutes to 2 hours of intake, alcohol reaches the bloodstream. Your breathing rate may slow, making it harder to think clearly.

Although the legal BAC limit in the state is 0.08%, keep in mind that everyone reacts differently to alcohol.

Your blood alcohol concentration may be affected by the following factors:

  • weight,
  • gender,
  • levels of anxiety and exhaustion
  • hunger,
  • alcohol consumption level, and
  • taking prescribed drugs.

After a few drinks, some people may pass out. They may appear normal, but their driving abilities may be impaired. As a result, you have to verify your blood alcohol content before getting behind the wheel.

A BAC calculator and chart can assist you in determining how much alcohol you can consume before driving. However, because everyone reacts differently to alcohol, these methods may not be appropriate for everyone. It is nevertheless recommended that you utilize a certified alcohol breathalyzer to determine your BAC accurately.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Texas

Blood alcohol concentrations ranging from 0.010% to 0.029% are unlikely to produce substantial impairment. Individuals with this BAC level look to be sober. As BAC levels rise, however, indications of alcohol-related impairment become apparent.

A person is regarded to be driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor if their BAC level is 0.08% or greater, as determined by a chemical test.

DUI laws change from state to state. To avoid a fine, check your blood alcohol level before driving.

DUI convictions can have severe legal and financial implications. The DUI penalties in Texas are as follows.

First DUI Offense in TX

First-time offenders of DUI in Texas may face the following penalties:

  • Jail Time: At least three (3) days up to 180 days in jail upon conviction
  • Fines: Up to $2,000
  • License Suspension: Up to one(1) year of suspension
  • Ignition Interlock: Only as a requirement for receiving an “occupational license.”

Second DUI Offense in TX

Second-time DUI offenders may face the following punishment:

  • Jail Time: One (1) month to one (1) year imprisonment
  • Fines: Up to $4,000
  • License Suspension: Maximum of two (2) years license suspension
  • Ignition Interlock: One (1) year

Third DUI Offense in TX

Third-time DUI offenders are bound to face the following consequences of DUI:

  • Jail Time: At least two (2) to ten (10) years in prison
  • Fines: $10,000
  • License Suspension: Up to two (2) years of license revocation
  • Ignition Interlock: One (1) year

You should note that these fines do not include the state fines of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 imposed at the time of sentence.

Implied Consent Law in Texas

All drivers lawfully detained for DUI in Texas must submit to a chemical test (blood or breath) under the state’s “implied consent” legislation. Drivers who refuse to take the test will face the following license bans.

  • First Offense:180 days
  • Second Offense: Two (2) years
  • Third Offense: Two (2) years

When Can You Drink and Drive in Texas?

Several factors influence blood alcohol content. Gender is a crucial element influencing a person’s BAC level, according to studies. The BAC thresholds for men and women are different. 

Alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) levels in men are significantly greater than in women. The ADH enzymes regulate alcohol metabolism. Hence, men absorb alcohol faster than women.

The information below can help you determine how much alcohol you can drink before driving in Texas.

Other than gender, several factors influence a person’s blood alcohol content. Although research supports the details provided here, remember that alcohol may not be helpful or suitable for everyone because everyone responds differently to it.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Texas?

Drink beer and drive in Texas

A lighter person has a greater BAC, according to BAC charts.

A 160-pound male (72 kilos) can have a BAC of 0.02% after drinking a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

A lady of the same weight who drinks a comparable quantity of alcohol may have a blood alcohol content of 0.03%.

This contrast shows how a person’s gender influences how they metabolize alcohol.

Given the above example, limiting your beer consumption to one to two bottles is best if you need to drive later.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Texas?

A standard 5-ounce (142-milliliter) serving of wine has an ABV of 12%.

A 160-pound male can have a BAC of 0.02% after consuming one glass of wine, as demonstrated in the sample above. A female with the same weight and alcohol consumption may have a BAC of 0.03%.

These BAC levels may grow much higher when additional factors such as stress, empty stomachs, and medicine consumption are taken into account.

If you intend to drive after drinking, one to two glasses of wine should suffice.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Texas?

The ABV of distilled alcohols, such as vodka and whiskey, is 40%.

After drinking a single shot of vodka or whiskey, a 160-pound man can have a BAC of 0.02%. A female of the same weight and consumption may have a BAC of 0.03%.

As previously noted, BAC levels can rise in the presence of other circumstances.

If you have to drive, stick to one to two shots of whiskey or vodka.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Texas

Every driver should be educated about the dangers of intoxicated driving and take all reasonable steps to avoid it. You may lose control of yourself and your vehicle if you are drunk. 

Driving while high or intoxicated is risky. As a result, the best and safest approach is to refrain from drinking before driving.

Even if you only had a few bottles or glasses of alcohol, don’t be too confident in your BAC and driving ability. Consider adopting alternative modes of transportation instead of driving.

If you want to drive after drinking, ensure your driving skill isn’t hindered. It is also recommended to utilize a reliable alcohol breathalyzer for assessing your blood alcohol level.

We recommend visiting the state’s official website to understand more about Texas DUI laws.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.