Can I Get a DWI in Texas If I’m Under the Legal Limit?

By Jeff Kennedy

Can I Get a DWI in Texas If I’m Under the Legal Limit?

All drivers are required to be familiar with DWI laws in the state of Texas. Some, however, may not understand how the legal limit for alcohol consumption changes for drivers under the age of 21. 

Many have asked if it’s possible to get a Texas DWI if they’re under the legal limit. Read on to understand how age or other factors can impact a possible arrest. 

DWI and the Legal Limit for Drivers 21 and Older

Ignorance of the law is no excuse to break it, which is why all drivers should be aware of the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit before they get behind the wheel. 

In the state of Texas, the legal limit is .08, which means if you register a BAC at or above this number on a chemical blood alcohol test, you can be arrested for driving while intoxicated.

It’s important to understand that a BAC is only one of the considerations for making a DWI arrest in Texas. From the legal standpoint, an officer is allowed to arrest you for DWI under one of the following criterion: 

  • You demonstrate a loss of normal use of your mental or physical faculties. Officers are allowed to use their own judgement to determine a driver’s impairment. This means impaired performance on a field sobriety test or questionable driving such as swerving or tailgating, can also result in a DWI. 
  • Your BAC is close to the legal limit. For example, blowing a .07 could get you arrested if an officer has reason to believe you were previously operating your vehicle at or above the legal limit.
  • The police officer invokes zero-tolerance laws. The interpretation of zero-tolerance laws means that minors (see below) or of-age drivers operating a vehicle under the influence of another inebriating substance can also be arrested. 

DWIs are taken seriously in the state of Texas, and the penalties—including possible incarceration, fines, community service or the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (IID)—depend on your criminal history and the nature of your case. 

This widely acknowledged BAC limit, however, applies only to drivers of legal drinking age. In Texas, where the legal drinking age is 21, underage drivers are held to a different standard. 

BAC Considerations for Underage Drivers in Texas

In the state of Texas, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to consume alcohol. Zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving means that underage drivers are not permitted to have any alcohol in their system while driving—establishing an effective BAC limit of zero. 

Whereas of-age drivers can be arrested for DWI, underage drivers registering a BAC between .001 to .08 can be charged with a DUI, a Class C misdemeanor. 

Potential penalties for an underage DUI in Texas can include a fine of up to $500, a drivers license suspension of up to 180 days, a maximum of forty days of community service and mandatory alcohol awareness classes. 

Contact a Texas DWI Lawyer

A DWI or DUI conviction in Texas can have serious consequences, including jail time and damages to your professional reputation. If facing conviction, you need the help of a robust legal defense. The experienced lawyers at The Law Offices of Jeff C. Kennedy can help you clear your name while fighting for possible acquittal of your charges. 

Don’t hesitate to speak with a lawyer at our firm about your case. Call 817-605-1010 or fill out the form below to schedule a no-obligation consultation. 


Jeff C. Kennedy was the light of hope at the end of very dark storm. He was not only able to defend my case swiftly, but had the alleged charges dismissed completely. His calm and empathetic demeanor offered emotional succor to myself and those I care about most. My children and I are eternally grateful for his excellent service and I hereby recommend Jeff C. Kennedy without reservation.


Jeff Kennedy truly cares. He and his staff kept me informed all the way throughout my case and provided me with all my options and the potential outcomes for my case. When the day finally arrived to resolve my case, Jeff was able to negotiate a reduction to a lesser charge. He was well prepared and coordinated everything perfectly. Jeff is not only a good lawyer, but a good man.


I hired Mr. Jeff Kennedy to handle a DWI charge. From day one, I knew I had picked the right attorney. Jeff always took the time to answer any of my questions, treated me very professionally, and truly cared about my case. I have never been in any kind of trouble before and I was very nervous about the thought of going to trial. Jeff thoroughly explained the entire process to me and made me feel at ease. Jeff took my case to trial and the jury found me NOT GUILTY!


Jeff Kennedy is a professional, intelligent, easy-to-talk-to lawyer with an excellent understanding of how the system works. Jeff was able to get my twice the legal limit BAC thrown out and he kept me from having an interlock device put on my car. This has been my only big mistake in life so far (hopefully the last) and I am glad he was there to walk me through it. You will not regret hiring him.

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