Overview of DWI Penalties
There are various forms of DWI penalties in Texas, and it’s almost impossible to tell a person what they face without knowing their past criminal history and the specifics of their arrest. The lightest penalties are reserved for those who hurt no one and have never been arrested for DWI in the past. The hope is first-time offenders will learn a lesson and not repeat their mistake in the future.
First-Time DWI – If you’re arrested and charged with a first-time DWI, you are guilty of a Class B Misdemeanor. You face up to 180 days in jail, but no less than 72 hours. You also face fines up to $2,000. Your license is suspended anywhere from 3 months to 6 months.
-If your blood alcohol level is above .15 percent, the charges are upgraded to a Class A Misdemeanor. The fines remain the same in all categories but jail time, which is now up to one year.
-If you have an open container with you when arrested, it’s still a Class B Misdemeanor, but the minimum jail time you face is 6 days to 6 months.
Second-Time DWI – If you’re arrested a second time, you face fines of up to $4,000, jail time of 1 month to 1 year, and your license is suspended anywhere from six months to two years. It’s a Class A Misdemeanor.
Third-Time DWI – This is where the charges are significant. This is now considered a 3rd degree felony, and you face up to $10,000 in fines as well as 6 months to 2 years without your license. If you are sentenced to jail, it’s anywhere from two to 10 years.
-If you’ve been in jail once before, your potential jail time is raised to 2 to 20 years. If you’ve been in jail more than two times before, your potential jail time is raised to 25 years to life.
If you assault someone while arrested for DWI, you face the same 3rd degree felony charges as someone arrested for their third DWI. If you are accused of manslaughter while intoxicated, you’re being charged with a 2nd degree felony. This is complete with up to $10,000 in fines, 2 to 20 years in prison, and suspension from six months to 2 years.
Any DWI with a child younger than 15 in the car is a State Jail Felony with fines of up to $10,000 and jail time of six months to two years.