Even responsible, well-meaning people can get charged with DWI after a night out with friends. If you receive a charge, you will face a range of penalties that entail fines, jail time, and license suspension.
Like many other states, Texas hands out harsh punishments when a person receives a DWI conviction. The Texas Department of Transportation explains these DWI penalties and how they might impact your life.
How law enforcement determines DWI
There are two factors law enforcement uses when determining DWI. You can receive a charge if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above .08%, which is the legal limit in the state. A breathalyzer test measures your BAC. You can also receive a charge if alcohol consumption has clearly affected your driving ability, such as by swerving or failing to abide by traffic laws.
First DWI offenses receive a $2,000 fine with a possible 180-day jail term. However, all offenders receive a mandatory three-day jail sentence. License suspension can last up to one year.
For second offenses, jail terms range from one month to one year. Offenders receive a $4,000 fine and can have their licenses revoked for a period of two years.
For those convicted of a third offense, expect a license suspension period of up to two years. Jail terms range from two years to ten years, while the fine is $10,000.
Penalties become even harsher if you are driving with a child under the age of 15 at the time of your arrest. Additional fines extend up to $10,000, while you may also receive an additional two-year jail sentence. Those convicted also receive an extra 180 days added to their license suspension.