What Happens When You Get a DWI in Texas?
A driving while intoxicated charge in Texas is a serious matter, but much depends on your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) and other circumstances at the time of the arrest. In Texas, anyone with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more faces a DWI charge if caught behind the wheel. Depending on the size of the individual, a BAC of 0.08 percent may result after consumption of just one or two alcoholic beverages. If the driver refuses to submit to a blood or breath test at the scene, he or she faces an automatic 180-day license suspension.
However, DWI does not refer only to alcohol consumption. Impairment due to the use of drugs, whether prescription or illegal, can also result in a DWI. If illegal drugs are involved, the driver could face additional charges.
Penalties for a DWI are severe, even if this is your first offense. For a first offense, you may face:
- Fines of up to $2,000
- A minimum of three and up to 180 days in jail
- Up to a one-year loss of driver’s license
- Three-year fees of $1,000 to $2,000 annually to regain driver’s license.
In most cases, a first-time DWI conviction will also include mandatory an alcohol education program, along with community service obligations. During the period of driver’s license loss, it may prove possible to receive an occupational license, allowing you to drive to and from work or school. If the judge grants an occupational license, ignition interlock devices are generally required on every vehicle the driver owns or operates.
Second, third, and subsequent offenses are increasingly harsh. Even for a first offense, there are situations that lead to higher penalties. For example, if you have passengers in the vehicle younger than 15 at the time of the arrest, you may also face child endangerment charges. These penalties include:
- Fines of up to $10,000
- Up to 24 months in jail
- Six-month loss of driver’s license.
Besides the DWI, other factors can also affect penalties, such as speeding or driving with a revoked or suspended license. If the DWI resulted in the death or serious injury of another person, a jail sentence is more likely. If there is an open container of alcohol in the vehicle at the time of the stop, that may add an additional $500 in fines.
Class B vs. Class A Misdemeanor
A first offense DWI is generally considered as Class B misdemeanor under Texas law. However, if the driver has a BAC above 0.15 percent, the offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The latter may result in higher fines and longer jail sentences.
Contact a DWI Attorney
The stakes are high with a DWI. If you or a loved one were charged with a DWI in the North Texas area, you need the services of experienced Texas DWI lawyer Andrew Peveto.
When a DWI is involved, is it imperative to obtain legal counsel immediately. We can not only provide aggressive and knowledgeable defense services, we can also help with DWI expungement from your record, or sealing your DWI from potential employers or background searches.
Call Peveto Law Office today or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
- Texas Department of Transportation – Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) https://www.txdot.gov/inside-txdot/division/traffic/safety/sober-safe/intoxication.html
- Texas Statutes, Sec. 411.0731
Procedure for Community Supervision Following Conviction; Certain Driving While Intoxicated Convictions, https://texas.public.law/statutes/tex._gov’t_code_section_411.0731