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Texas DWI Consequences You Need to Know About

Texas DWI Consequences You Need to Know About

In Texas, DWI consequences are more severe than many people realize. Texas is by no means a lenient state when it comes to penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI). After a conviction, the punishments are clear. 

While there’s some room for variation, there are mandatory minimums in place as well as legally required consequences. However, there’s more to worry about than the official penalties. Oftentimes, people don’t fully consider what it means to have a DWI on their criminal record. 

After a DWI arrest, you have important decisions to make before it has lasting impacts on your life, wallet, and relationships. 

DWI Penalties in Texas

Through Texas, DWI consequences carry a hefty price. Moreover, the authorities actively seek out drivers in violation of the law. Additionally, it surprises many drivers when they learn that even a drink or two can lead to accusations. 

In some cases, drivers risk arrest even when their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is well below .08, the legal limit for intoxication. 

Luckily, when you work with an experienced DWI defense attorney, you have an advocate to help reduce the penalties you potentially face. In certain cases, a skilled attorney can even earn you a dismissal, have the charges reduced to a lower class of crime, or push to have the prosecution drop the case. 

Penalties for Minors 

Texas DWI consequences for those under the age of 21 include a range of potential penalties. For example, a first-time offense might result in any combination of the following terms. 

  • Probation 
  • License suspension or loss of driving privileges
  • Fines
  • Alcohol education course
  • Community service 
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

With each subsequent offense, the penalties grow more and more severe. In many cases, they also include jail time. Luckily, when you work with an experienced attorney, you have an advocate to minimize these and other long-term penalties that minors might face. 

Penalties for Adults

The Texas DWI consequences for adults have become harsher over the recent decades. While the specific penalties depend on a range of factors, the most relevant factors are the existence of previous offenses and your BAC at the time of the arrest. 

 

First DWI Offense

The penalties for a first offense DWI in Texas are as follows:

 

Offense Level: Class B Misdemeanor

Maximum Fine: Up to $2,000

Jail Range: 72 hours to 180 days

License Suspension: 90 to 365 days

 

DWI with Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) at or over .15

If your BAC is found to be at .15 or over, you may face the following penalties for your DWI:

 

Offense Level: Class A Misdemeanor

Maximum Fine: Up to $4,000

Jail Range: 72 hours to 1 year in county jail

License Suspension: 90 to 365 days

 

First DWI with Open Container Enhancement

If you are found with an open container in your car on your first DWI, you may face the following penalties:

 

Offense Level: Class B Misdemeanor

Maximum Fine: Up to $2,000

Jail Range: 6 days to 180 days in county jail

License Suspension: 90 to 365 days

2nd DWI Offense

 

Second-Time DWI

The penalties for a second offense DWI in Texas are as follows:

 

Offense Level: Class A Misdemeanor

Maximum Fine: Up to $4,000

Jail Range: 30 to 365 days

License Suspension: 180 days to 2 years

 

Offense Level: 3rd Degree Felony

Maximum Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail Range: 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

License Suspension: 180 days to 2 years

 

3rd or more DWI with 1 prior state prison sentence

The penalties for a prior state prison sentence and 3+ DWI charges include:

 

Offense Level: Punished as a 2nd Degree Felony

Maximum Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail Range: 2 to 20 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

License Suspension: Up to 2 years

 

3rd or more DWI with 2 prior state prison trips

The penalties for two prior state prison sentences and 3+ DWI charges include:

 

Offense Level: Enhanced Felony Punishment

Maximum Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail Range: 25 years to life in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

License Suspension: Up to 2 years

 

Intoxication Assault – DWI that results in serious bodily injury

The conviction penalties for intoxication assault in Texas may include the following:

 

Offense Level: 3rd Degree Felony

Maximum Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail Range: 2 to 10 years to life in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

License Suspension: 180 days to 2 years

 

Intoxication Manslaughter – DWI that Causes Death

The conviction penalties for intoxication manslaughter in Texas may include the following:

Offense Level: 2nd Degree Felony

Maximum Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail Range: 2 to 10 years to life in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ)

License Suspension: 180 days to 2 years

 

DWI with Child Passenger – Child Younger than 15 Years of Age

The penalties for a DWI with child passenger conviction may result in the following:

Offense Level: State Jail Felony

Maximum Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail Range: 6 months to 2 years in State Jail Facility

License Suspension: 90 days to 2 years

Texas DWI Consequences: Practical Problems

While the official Texas DWI consequences are rough enough, a conviction leads to a range of secondary problems. In some cases, having a DWI on your record causes you to lose professional licenses that prevent you from working. 

Certain fields refuse to hire someone with a DWI conviction, closing off large portions of the job market. If you are in the United States on a visa or green card, you have the potential to lose your status as well. 

Moreover, insurance premiums for life insurance and car insurance tend to rise significantly. If you manage to stay out of jail, aside from the mandatory minimum, you can lose your license. In a city like Houston, that makes life much more difficult. 

Familial Strain & Texas DWI Consequences

Texas DWI consequences also extend into your family life and personal life. If you find yourself in a situation involving family law, it puts you in a weaker position. For those involved in a child custody case, a conviction is likely to influence the judge’s decision. 

Additionally, it might prohibit you from fostering or adopting children. Moreover, it puts a stain on your reputation, leading people to feel wary in your car if you earn your license again. 

Oddly enough, a DWI conviction might even prevent you from traveling to certain countries. This is because countries occasionally examine the backgrounds of people entering. That means Texas DWI consequences reach much farther than many expect. 

Worried About Texas DWI Consequences?

As you can see, Texas DWI consequences extend far beyond the realm of the law. One conviction places you in a world of personal and financial strange. When you find yourself facing DWI charges, you need to partner with a skilled DWI defense attorney. 

With the right representation, you can help to minimize the chances of facing these consequences. At Nguyen & Chen, we are your advocates, and our goal is to help you protect your rights and freedoms. Schedule a free case evaluation with our team today.