Texas uses both civil and criminal penalties for a first DWI in Texas. You should not assume the fact it’s your first offense will guarantee leniency. Texas is tough on drunk drivers even if it’s their first offense.
The suspension of a driving license is likely to be one of the first things that will impact you. It could affect your job, your college course or your family life.
Here’s more information about the administrative and the criminal penalties.
A first offense arrest for a suspected DWI leads to a process of administrative license suspension. Typically, this involves a minimum suspension period of 90 – 180 days, unless you contest it. If you are arrested and served a notice of suspension, you are entitled to an administrative license revocation hearing. A criminal defense attorney can make sure you are ready for the hearing and maximize the chances that your license doesn’t get suspended.
The refusal to consent to a breath or a blood test means Texas’ implied consent laws are triggered. You can face a mandatory license suspension of 180 days.
License reinstatement for first DWI offense does not typically require completion of alcohol/substance abuse screening for first offenders. The court may order an ignition interlock to be fitted for a first DWI in Texas. A law in Texas enacted in 2015 allows first-time DWI offenders to retain their license on condition an ignition interlock device is fitted.
In Texas, you may spend between three and 180 days in jail for a first DWI. Some factors will likely increase the sentence. These include drunken driving with a minor in the car which carries an incarceration range from 180 days to two years.
A first time DWI offender can face a fine of up to $2,000. If a minor is present in the car, the fine can be increased to not more than $10,000.
Texas is unusual in that it has a surcharge program for DUI/DWI offenders, which requires the payment of $1,000 annually for three years. If your blood/alcohol content was higher than 0.16, the surcharge increases to $2,000 annually for a three-year period.
A DWI conviction remains on your record for 10 years in Texas.
At the Medlin Law Firm, we have almost 50 years’ combined experience in DWI defense in the Fort Worth area. Please call us today for a free consultation about your case.