In Texas, driving while under the influence (DWI) can lead to significant legal penalties. Fines, jail time, and loss of license are all possible if convicted. You may also experience serious reputational effects, both personally and professionally.
Accordingly, you must fully understand possible DWI penalties to ensure you know your rights. Here are a few potential penalties and what they entail.
Number of offenses determines penalties
The type of penalty a person receives after a DWI has much to do with the number of previous offenses:
- First offense – Jail term includes a mandatory three-day sentence, as well as up to 180 days depending on the circumstances. Those convicted may also face up to a $2,000 fine and a possible year-long license suspension.
- Second offense – Jail terms start at one month and can last as long as one year. The license suspension period can be as long as two years, in addition to a fine of up to $4,000.
- Third offense – Jail terms range from two years to ten years. Along with a $10,000 fine, those convicted can also face a license suspension period of up to two years.
During the sentencing period, those convicted of DWI can also face additional fines from the state of Texas. In this case, state fines can be $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000.
Other penalties can also apply
Despite the number of previous offenses on records, the circumstances of the situation can also play a role in the types of penalties a driver faces. For example, driving with an open alcohol container in the vehicle can lead to penalties, even when the driver is not drunk.
Getting a DWI with a child passenger will also elevate penalties. Drivers can receive an additional $10,000 fine, face a license suspension period of an additional 180 days, and receive a maximum two-year jail term. If the child is under the age of 15, you can also receive a child endangerment charge.