DWI/DUI Practice Center

Texas DWI/DUI Penalties

If you have been arrested on suspicion of DWI in Texas, whether you are visitor or a resident, it is vital to understand Texas DWI/DUI penalties. Although it is possible for an unrepresented person to get a general idea of what they are facing in terms of a penalty, without the focused attention of an experienced attorney who is aware of all of the facts of your case, it is nearly impossible to get much more than a vague picture of what may be in store. Carabin and Shaw, P.C. associates can explain the range of penalties applicable to your case, and will aggressively pursue the minimum possible penalty on your behalf.

In estimating your potential liability, the most important factor to know is what the actual charge is. (For instance, are you charged with a “DWI 1st”? For which the maximum jail sentence is 180 days, or are you charged with an “Intoxication assault”? which is a DWI charge that is appropriate where the accused by virtue of his impairment causes serious bodily injury to another, for which the maximum jail sentence is 10 years). While it may seem obvious, in many cases it is not always easy to know what charges the state may or will proceed on. Even if you are certain what DWI charges are applicable to your case, many other factors will determine what the ultimate penalty you are facing will be. Other determining factors include, the circumstances of the arrest, whether an accident occurred, the extent of the alleged impairment, whether a sample was provided, the training and experience of the officers, the practices and policies of the judge and the assistant DA assigned to your case, and most importantly the expertise and experience of the person advocating on your behalf! Call now for a free review and consultation.

For each DWI offense, Texas statutes specify a range of penalties. Upon conviction for a DWI/DUI offense, courts may impose any penalties that fall within the state mandated ranges for the particular offense in question. Remember, proceed with caution, it is nearly impossible for an unrepresented person to get more than a very vague general idea of the actual extent of their liability without the involvement of a knowledgeable DWI attorney. Consequently, the below material is provided merely as a general outline of Texas law primarily to underscore the importance of having a lawyer review your case – In other words, BE SMART! do not use this information to make important decisions about your case without the involvement of an experienced attorney!

DWI 1st Offense:

In Texas a first time DWI is a class B misdemeanor. Despite classification as a misdemeanor, this is a serious charge with repercussions that literally last a lifetime.

If you are charged with a “first time” DWI you are facing confinement, community supervision (probation), and fines. Upon conviction of DWI 1st, your license is automatically suspended for a period from 90 days up to one year, and the judge WILL sentence you to:

  • serve a period of confinement of not less than 72 hours to no more than 180 days in jail (usually no jail sentence is actually served; rather, the period of confinement is suspended (or “probated”) during the period of community supervision. Still, a court may order confinement);
  • pay a fine of up to $2,000;
  • perform between 24 and 100 hrs of community service; and
  • successfully complete up to 2 years of community supervision* and all required conditions** thereof. 


DWI 1st Open Container:

This charge is also a class B misdemeanor.

If you are charged with a “first time” DWI and there was an open container in your vehicle at the time of arrest, all of the same above DWI penalties apply except the minimum term of confinement is six days instead of 72 hours.


DWI 2nd Offense:

Second time DWIs are class a misdemeanors which afford the sentencing court a wider range of possible penalties. Such a charge is appropriate when the accused has previously been convicted of a DWI, (or of operating a boat, aircraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated).  Persons charged with a second time DWI who are released from jail on bond after their arrest are required to install and maintain (read as “pay for”), in all their vehicles, a device that uses a deep lung breath analysis mechanism (a.k.a. “ignition interlock”) to prevent the operation (car won’t even start) of the vehicle if alcohol is detected on the operators breath. These devices are highly sophisticated and can’t be circumvented by obvious means such as having somebody else blow into them or disconnecting them from their power source. In fact, such deception is very common, is nearly always discovered, and often results in bond revocation and pre-trial confinement. If convicted, the devices remain in the vehicle throughout the term of community supervision.   

 

  • Upon conviction of DWI 2nd, your license is automatically suspended for a period from 180 days up to two years, and the judge WILL sentence you to:
  • serve a period of confinement of not less than 30 days to no more than one year in jail (unlike DWI 1st , with this offense it is likely that some period of confinement will be served the duration of which varies widely depending on a number of factors);
  • pay a fine of up to $4,000;
  • perform between 80 and 200 hrs of community service; and
  • successfully complete up to 2 years of community supervision* and all required conditions** thereof. 

 
DWI with child passenger:

A DWI with child passenger is a state-jail felony. Such a charge is appropriate where a person drives while intoxicated and there is another person in the vehicle who is under 15 years of age. Note, given the extensive range of penalties available in felony cases, it is useless to speculate about what a court might impose. Rather, all the facts and circumstances must be considered by an attorney who can advise you about the unique characteristics of your case. In addition to the consequences outlined for misdemeanors above, the court will order you to:

  • serve a period of confinement of not less than 180 days to no more than two years in jail;
  • pay a fine of up to $10,000;
  • successfully complete up to 10 years of community supervision* and all required conditions** thereof. 

 
DWI 3rd Offense Felony:

If a person has two or more previous DWI convictions, the current DWI may, and in all probability will, be charged as a 3rd degree felony. Any felony case requires the immediate attention of an experienced attorney. Call Now! For this charge, In addition to the consequences outlined for misdemeanors above, the court will order you to:

  • serve a period of confinement of not less than two to no more than ten years in jail (a person convicted on these charges will almost certainly serve time);
  • pay a fine of up to $10,000;
  • successfully complete up to 10 years of community supervision* and all required conditions** thereof. 

 

Intoxication Assault: 3rd degree felony

This charge is appropriate where serious bodily injury occurs as a consequence of a driver’s intoxication. Again, any felony case requires the immediate attention of an experienced attorney. Call Now! For this charge, you are facing a period of confinement of not less than two to no more than ten years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary). If you are facing an intoxication assault charge your freedom is in serious jeopardy and you are in critical need of advice from an experienced attorney. Call now.


Intoxication Manslaughter: 2nd degree felony:

This charge is appropriate where death occurs as a consequence of a driver’s intoxication. Again, any felony case requires the immediate attention of an experienced attorney. Call Now! For this charge, you are facing a period of confinement of not less than two to no more than twenty years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division (Penitentiary). If you are facing an intoxication manslaughter charge your freedom is in serious jeopardy and you are in critical need of advice from an experienced attorney. Call now.