The fun of a night spent at dinner or carousing with friends may end abruptly when drivers spot flashing lights in their rearview mirrors. Should law enforcement arrest and charge motorists with driving while intoxicated, they can face a range of penalties that have far-reaching ramifications on their housing, employment and future endeavors.
To help protect themselves, drivers should understand the potential consequences they face if convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a DWI may result in the court imposing fines on convicted drivers. They may have to pay a maximum of $2,000 for a first-time offense, up to $4,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense. Additionally, drivers may have to pay state fines of $3,000, $4,500 or $6,000 when they receive their sentencing for DWI convictions.
Driver’s license suspension
If convicted of DWI in Texas, offenders may also lose their driving privileges. The state may suspend people’s driver’s licenses for up to one year for a first-time offense and up to two years for a second- or third-time offense. Additional time may also be added to a driver’s license suspension for extenuating circumstances, such as having children under 15-years-old in their vehicles at the time of an arrest.
Jail and probation
Depending on their arrest history, people convicted of DWI may also face jail time. The court may order a minimum of three days and a maximum of 180 days in jail for a first-time offense. Drivers convicted of a second or third DWI offense may face up to one month in jail or between two and 10 years in prison, respectively. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, adults convicted of driving while intoxicated may have to serve probation, which could include participation in a 12-hour alcohol education program.