Penalties for DWI in Texas

Are you facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Fort Worth or anywhere else in Texas? If so, you’re probably wondering what you’re up against. What are the penalties involved? Will you lose your driver license? Will you go to jail? These are all valid questions indeed, which I’ll answer below.

For starters, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is criminalized under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. Under this section, DWI is defined as “being intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.” Intoxicated means to not have your normal use of mental or physical faculties because of alcohol or drugs, or both.

While it’s illegal to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or above in Texas and all states, you can be convicted of DWI regardless of BAC if the state can prove that your ability to drive safely was impaired by drugs or alcohol. So, you can be convicted of DWI with a BAC less than .08%.

What Are the Penalties Involved?

DWI is a “priorable offense,” which means the punishment gets worse for each subsequent conviction. The penalties for DWI are as follows:

First DWI Offense

  • A fine not to exceed $2,000
  • Up to six months in jail
  • Up to one-year driver license suspension
  • An annual fee between $1,000 and $2,000 to keep driver license

Second DWI Offense

  • A fine not to exceed $4,000
  • Up to one year in jail
  • Loss of driver license up to two years
  • An annual fee between $1,000 and $2,000 to keep driver license

Third DWI Offense

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Between 2 and 10 years in prison
  • Up to two-year driver license suspension
  • An annual fee between $1,000 and $2,000 to keep driver license

After someone has two or more DWI convictions within a five-year period, the driver is required to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID), which prevents the vehicle from starting if there is any alcohol in the driver’s breath. The IID also requires random breath samples throughout each trip.

Related: Can I Get Fired for a Fort Worth DWI?

Are you facing DWI charges in Fort Worth? If so, contact my firm at (817) 953-2663 to schedule a free case evaluation.

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