Penalties for DWI in Texas
The State of Texas takes Driving While Intoxicated offenses seriously
Texas is cracking down on those who drive while intoxicated or under the influence. The State makes it clear that it does not tolerate drivers who operate their vehicles while intoxicated and the penalties put in place reflect this. If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, you will face jail or prison time and you face steep fines. Above and beyond this, those with a DWI conviction face the stigma that comes with having a criminal record. A criminal record can follow you to job interviews and housing applications.
The punishments attached to a DWI conviction largely depend on whether or not it was your first DWI offense, what your blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of the offense, and whether there were any other aggravating circumstances surrounding the DWI incident. For first time offenders that had a BAC less than .15, a fine of $2,000 or less may be assessed along with a jail sentence of 3 to 180 days and a driver’s license suspension of 90 to 365 days. It is considered to be a Class B misdemeanor. First time offenders, however, may apply for non disclosure once two years of probation has ended. A non-disclosure will restrict who has access to seeing your criminal record. To qualify for the non-disclosure, you must have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle for 6 months.
If you are a first time DWI offender that has a BAC of .15 or more, the offense rises to the level of a Class A misdemeanor. You may be hit with a fine of up to $4,000. Additionally, the potential jail time you face increases to up to one year. A second time DWI offense is also considered to be a Class A misdemeanor. For a second DWI conviction, the potential penalties include a fine of up to $4,000 and jail time for 30 days up to one year. You also face the possibility for your driver’s license being suspended for 180 days up to 2 years.
A third time DWI offense is classified as 3rd degree felony. You may be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for 2 to 10 years. Imprisonment means that you will be incarcerated in a state-run penal institution as opposed to a county-run jail institution. You may also have your driver’s license suspended from 180 days up to 2 years. Additionally, you face the consequences of having a felony conviction. This means you will be disqualified from voting and lose the ability to legally possess a firearm.
There are also aggravating circumstances that may increase the applicable penalties for a DWI conviction. Aggravating circumstances may include:
- An open container of alcohol
- A child passenger
- Injuring another
- Killing another
If there is an open container of alcohol in the vehicle, the minimum jail penalty increases to 6 days. If there was a person under the age of 15 in your vehicle at the time of the DWI, you can face imprisonment from 180 days to 2 years and a fine of up to $10,000. If you hurt someone as a result of your operating a vehicle while intoxicated, the penalties increase as well. Intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter are both felony offenses.
Don’t let a DWI charge turn into a DWI conviction, contact a skilled Texas DWI attorney. The DWI lawyers at The Law Office of Kyle Whitaker are prepared to fight for you. Contact us by calling (817) 332-7703 or contact us online.