DWI laws have been getting tougher and tougher over the past 40 years, and Texas is no exception.
In Texas, you are considered intoxicated if you have an alcohol level of .08 or above. You can also be considered intoxicated due to drug use. An open container can also cause problems, and you don’t have to be the driver to get in trouble; a passenger can be fined for up to $500 for an open alcohol container, too. A DWI plus an open container is punishable by a minimum of six days and up to six months or even a year in jail.
The charges are considerably more serious if you’ve been drinking and you have a child in the car. A DWI with a child in the car incurs a fine up to $10,000, can result in a jail sentence of up to two years, and involves the loss of your driver’s license for 180 days. Refusing a blood or breath test if you’re stopped also means your driver’s license may be suspended for 180 days or more.
DWI punishments are always severe, and they become more severe if there are prior convictions. A first offense incurs a fine of up to $2000. There may be jail time ranging from three days to 180 days. Your driver’s license may be suspended for up to a year. Whether or not your license is suspended, you will have to pay an annual surcharge of $1000 to $2000 for a period of three years.
For a second offense, the fine is up to $4000 and the jail sentence ranges from one month to a year. The second offense may mean the loss of your driver’s license for up to two years. The annual fee to keep your license is still between $1000 and $2000 for a period of three years. You will be required to install an ignition interlock device that prevents the car from starting if you’ve been drinking.
The third offense can result in a $10,000 fine and between two and ten years in prison. Again, this may mean the loss of your driver’s license for up to two years, and the fee to retain the driver’s license is between $1000 and $2000 for three years. You will need to install an ignition device to prevent the car from starting if you’ve been drinking (if you are lucky enough to get your license back or get an occupational license). A third offense is a classified as a felony.
A DWI conviction may also require probation, which could include community service, a drug and alcohol evaluation, and attendance at a DWI class. DWI convictions stay on your record forever in Texas and can cause a great deal of problems when applying for jobs, professional licenses, and more.
DWI convictions are not to be taken lightly in Texas. If you would like more information, please contact us today!