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Avoid unpleasant surprises by knowing these DWI laws

Texas laws concerning drunk driving are pretty much the same as anywhere else. Your BAC cannot exceed 0.08%, and first-time offenses come with fewer consequences than subsequent ones.

However, the law contains more details than your generic DWI. Here are just three to know to avoid charges. 

The law applies to more than just your car

People most often associate drunk driving with being on the road, but it can happen anywhere you would operate a vehicle. This means the law includes all types of watercraft and aircraft, as well. It even covers those who operate or only assemble amusement park rides! The state wants to make the message clear: No matter what wheel you are behind, be sober.

An open container is enough to get you into trouble

You would think legal trouble would only arise if you were actually intoxicated. However, simply having an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of your car is sufficient, even if you are the passenger and not the driver. The term "open" is broad and encompasses any of the following circumstances:

  • A broken container seal
  • A currently open or previously opened container
  • A container missing some of its contents

Even if you have stopped on the side of the road or have parked somewhere, it still counts, because the fact that you are out shows that the car was moving at one point with the possibility you were drinking while driving.

Penalties are worse when children are involved

Texas takes children's safety seriously. If the police arrest you for driving while intoxicated and with a minor under 15 years old in the vehicle, you risk facing harsher penalties as well as child endangerment charges. Having a child passenger is a state jail felony that can result in up to a $10,000 fine, a maximum of two years in jail and license revocation for 180 days. Never let a child in the car with you if you have been drinking.

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