When people get caught driving with a 0.15 alcohol level in Texas, they may face harsher penalties. If you’ve recently been pulled over for a DWI, then you might be wondering why this is the case.

Think of it this way: the legal alcohol limit in Texas is 0.08%. Once your blood alcohol content is at .08% or higher, you’re considered legally intoxicated and can be charged with a DWI. Meanwhile, 0.15 blood is nearly twice that amount. In the eyes of Texas, the version of you with a BAC level of 0.15 or greater is going to be much more reckless than the version of you with a BAC level that’s less than 0.15.  

Whether or not you agree with this idea doesn’t matter. What does matter is what the court thinks. Generally speaking, prosecutors equate a higher BAC level with your having created a more dangerous situation for other drivers on the road. 

So, what does a 0.15 BAC look like, and what kind of penalties should you expect with this type of DWI charge? Let’s break it down.

Is a 0.15 alcohol level high? 

In general, 0.15% of anything doesn’t sound like very much. With that in mind, it’s natural to wonder: Is a 0.15 BAC bad, or is everyone just overreacting? Well, to put things in perspective, most people start having impaired judgement, losing memories, and blacking out a 0.15 alcohol level. 

Whether or not that’s bad depends on your situation. If you’re sitting on your couch or in the backseat of an Uber, a 0.15 alcohol level in Texas isn’t anything to worry about. But if you’re at a 0.15 BAC and want to get on the road, chances are that you’re not anywhere near the right state of mind to operate a vehicle.

How many drinks does it take to get to 0.15 BAC?

How many drinks it takes you to get to 0.15 BAC level depends on several factors: your weight, gender, the rate at which you’re drinking, and how much you’ve eaten. It also depends on what type of alcohol you’re drinking and how big of a glass you’re drinking out of: one drink can equate to one 12oz can of beer (4.5% alcohol volume) or one 5oz glass of wine (12% alcohol volume). 

All of that said here’s a very rough estimate of when you can expect to hit a 0.15 BAC level:

0.15 BAC level for women

  • 100-120 pounds: 3-4 drinks
  • 140-160 pounds: 4-5 drinks
  • 180-200 pounds: 6-7 drinks
  • 220-240 pounds: 7-8 drinks

0.15 BAC level for men

  • 100-120 pounds: 4-5 drinks
  • 140-160 pounds: 5-6 drinks
  • 180-200 pounds: 7-8 drinks
  • 220-240 pounds: 9-10 drinks

What are the penalties for 0.15 alcohol level in Texas?

Texas DWI laws and penalties for a BAC level of 0.15 or higher are no walk in the park, and they are certainly harsher than a run-of-the-mill DWI charge. Texas courts don’t take these charges lightly, and prosecutors will push hard for maximum repercussions. 

Here’s what penalties you can expect with a 0.15 alcohol level in Texas:

  • Charge: Class A misdemeanor
  • Jail time: Up to one year
  • Initial fine: Up to $6,000
  • Annual surcharge: P to $2,000 per year for up to 3 years
  • Ignition interlock device: Installed for up to one year
  • License suspension: Up to one year

How do you fight a DWI charge if you had a 0.15 alcohol level in Texas?

If you’ve been pulled over for a suspected DWI, there are two things to keep in mind. First and foremost, remain as quiet as possible and aside from your insurance information and license, don’t offer up any extra information. The fight to overcome a DWI charge starts as soon as you get pulled over, and it’s important not to forget that. 

Secondly, while we typically believe “do not blow” is very bad advice, situations where you may have a 0.15 alcohol level or higher are the exception to the rule. BAC tests in general aren’t exactly known for being 100% correct. In fact, breathalyzers are often inaccurate and riddled with issues, which is why we typically tell our clients to “blow before you bleed” since we can use breathalyzer issues as a solid defense tactic. 

However, if you think you’ve had enough drinks to constitute a 0.15 BAC level, then taking a ride to have your blood tested might not be such a bad idea. That extra time you spend waiting to take your blood test can possibly give your body a chance to naturally lower your BAC level (the average human body eliminates about 1 drink or 0.02 BAC per hour).

After you’ve been picked up and charged with the DWI, then it’s time to invest in a lawyer that is experienced with more serious DWI charges, such as intoxication manslaughter cases and cases involving 2nd, 3rd, or 4th DWIs. This added experience is something you’ll need if you’re facing a class A misdemeanor due to that higher BAC level. 

Facing a DWI charge with a 0.15 alcohol level in Texas? 

The first thing to realize when it comes to DWI charges in Houston is that you do have a path that leads to successfully overcoming these charges, even if you have a 0.15 alcohol level or higher. Many people assume this is not possible and give up before they even get started. 

Here at Thiessen Law Firm, we know how to beat a DWI. We are home to board-certified DWI defense attorney  Mark Thiessen who has successfully achieved over 100 Not Guilty verdicts and thousands of dismissals. 

If you’re ready to overcome a DWI charge involving a 0.15 alcohol level in Texas, we can help. Give us a call at 713-864-900 or fill out our online form to get started.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.