Learn about the penalties & fines you may get if arrested for a DWI in Texas.
Whether you have been convicted of your first driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense, or you have had multiple alcohol-related arrests, the state of Texas takes DWI offenses very seriously. Therefore, if you are arrested for a DWI, there are several things that you should consider: Will you go to jail? How much will a DWI cost you in the long run? Will your license get taken away? How long will you be on probation for?
If you don’t follow the proper preventative steps, even your first DWI offense can result in a large fine, the suspension of your driver’s license, and possibly even jail time. These are just some of the reasons why it is imperative that you contact an experienced DWI lawyer if you are arrested for a DWI.
Without an experienced DWI lawyer, there is a good chance that you can expect the harsh penalties that come along with a DWI conviction. While the penalties of a Texas DWI charge can alter depending on the number of previous offenses you may have, here is an example of some of the penalties and fines you may receive from a DWI charge:
First DWI Offense
Texas State Criminal Status: Class B Misdemeanor
Jail Time: A minimum of 72 hours, or up to six days if an open container of alcohol was present at the time of the arrest. The maximum amount of jail time for a first offense DWI in Texas is six months in county jail.
State of Texas DWI Fines and Costs: Fines do not usually exceed $2,000. However, many other administrative and court fees may apply. For instance, the state of Texas applies a “surcharge” on top of regular fines when you are arrested for a DWI. The surcharge for a first-time offender is typically $1,000 every year for three years for a first DWI offense. If a person had a blood alcohol concentration level that was at least double the legal limit (.08), the surcharge can be as high as $2,000 per year.
License Suspension: 90 days to 180 days. However, first-time offenders are typically eligible for an occupational license or a restricted license depending on whether or not the court believes it is an “essential need.”
Texas DWI School: Up to 12 hours in a DWI Educational Program.
Community Service: At least 24 hours is required for first-time offenders, but no more than 100 hours total.
Second DWI Offense
Texas State Criminal Status: Class A Misdemeanor
Jail Time: A minimum of 30 days, a maximum of one year.
State of Texas DWI Fines and Costs: Fines do not usually exceed $4,000 for a second-time DWI offender. However, many other administrative and court fees may apply. For instance, the state of Texas applies a “surcharge” on top of regular fines when you are arrested for a DWI. The surcharge for a second-time offender is $1,500 every year for three years, or $2,000 every year if the person’s BAC level was at least double the legal limit.
License Suspension: 180 days to 2 years. However, occupational licenses may be granted if the court believes it is an “essential need.”
Texas DWI School: Repeat offenders must complete a 32-hour DWI Repeat Offender Program.
Community Service: At least 80 hours is required for second-time offenders, but no more than 200 hours total.
No matter how many convictions or offenses you have had in the past, it is always important to contact a professional DWI lawyer to represent you and help fight against any harsh penalties that may come as a result of drinking and driving.