The U.S. continues to increase the possible consequences associated with a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you are one of the many who still believe that a DWI arrest in Texas is nothing to fear, it is time to learn more about the penalties for a conviction.
Texas law enforcement relies on more than your blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) to make an arrest. Police officers undergo training that helps them spot the signs of alcohol impairment. In other words, even if you have a BAC under the legal limit of .08, an officer may still take you into police custody.
What are the penalties if convicted of DWI?
Depending on your arrest record, you could face several harsh penalties upon a DWI conviction.
- First offense: In addition to a fine of up to $2,000, you could face six to 180 days of jail time upon conviction. You will also lose your license for up to a year and pay an annual fee for three years to keep your driver’s license after reinstatement.
- Second offense: You could pay up to $4,000 in fines and spend a month to a year behind bars. Other penalties include losing your license for at least one year and annual fees for three years to keep it after reinstatement.
- Third offense: A conviction results in a $10,000 fine and two to 10 years in prison. You will also lose your license for up to two years and must pay the annual fee to keep your driver’s license once you get it back.
On top of the penalties above, a court may also order you to install an ignition interlock device, perform community service and enter a treatment program.
Mounting a solid criminal defense is usually the only way to avoid a DWI conviction or have the charges against you reduced. Your odds of success in avoiding these consequences will improve with experienced legal representation.