When a law enforcement officer stops you in Texas for the suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you could be subject to jail time, fines and other penalties if you receive a conviction. These consequences vary based on the incident in question and whether you have previously received a DWI charge.
Understanding the possible penalties for DWI can help prepare you for your court date for this charge.
First DWI offense
You can receive a DWI if you were driving while visibly impaired or if your blood alcohol content is higher than .08%. Drivers younger than 20 can receive DWI charges with any measurable alcohol level in the blood.
Penalties for an initial DWI include a 90-day to 12-month license suspension, fines up to $2,000 and mandatory minimum of 72 hours and up to six months in jail. The court doubles these consequences for drivers who have a BAC higher than .15%.
Refusal to take a breath test violates implied consent laws in Texas. Drivers who will not take a sobriety test receive a 180-day license suspension in addition to other DWI penalties. Drivers who have an open container in the car receive an additional $500 fine on top of other penalties for DWI.
Second DWI offense
The second DWI within five years carries enhanced penalties. These include a 180-day to two-year license suspension, up to $4,000 in fines and between 30 days and 12 months in jail.
Third DWI offense
Another DWI within the same five years carries the same license suspension penalties, but fines increase to $10,000. In addition, you will receive at least two and up to 10 years in jail.
Some drivers successfully argue for a downgrade to a wet reckless charge. Unlike DWI, which is a felony in Texas, wet reckless is a misdemeanor crime with less severe penalties and usually carries no jail time.