What are the Penalties for a DWI or DUI in Texas?

Our state has some pretty startling statistics related to alcohol and a range of penalties for a DWI or DUI in Texas. In fact, Texas has higher rates of alcohol related fatalities than any other state in the country. 44% of all vehicle-related fatalities were connected to alcohol. 

 

On top of those numbers are the estimated 13,177 car crashes that were alcohol-related. 

 

So, what are the consequences under the Texas driving laws for driving while under the influence of alcohol? 

 

If you or someone you love got arrested for a DWI, you’re likely relieved they weren’t killed or injured. But you’re probably also worried about what happens next. 

 

Read on to learn more about DWI and DUI charges in the state of Texas.

DUI and DWI in Texas

In many states, the terms DUI and DWI get used interchangeably. In Texas though, a DWI and DUI are not the same and come with much different consequences. 

 

A DUI or driving under the influence is most often used for minors under the age of 21. An adult might get a DUI if they have less than 0.08% blood alcohol level. 

 

A DWI is a more serious offense in Texas and comes with more stringent consequences. Adults with a blood alcohol level at 0.08% and higher would get charged with a DWI. Sometimes minors with higher blood alcohol levels or who have had multiple offenses would get charged with a DWI.

DWI Penalty

In Texas, technically a driving while intoxicated offense is given when the driver has a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher. Yet, the police can make an arrest for a DWI anytime they feel like the driver  doesn’t have good control of the car from either drugs or alcohol. 

 

When facing a sentencing the judge will consider the driving record along with the blood alcohol level. The consequences for a DWI are progressive and get more severe with each offense. 

 

The offenses are as follows:

 

DWI First Offense:

 

Consequences of a DWI in Texas

  • Fine up to $2,000 
  • Jail time up to 180 days upon conviction with three mandatory days
  • Loss of driver license up to a year

DWI Second Offense:

  • Fine up to a $4,000 
  • Jail time of one month to a year upon conviction
  • Loss of driver license up to two years

DWI Third Offense:

  • A $10,000 fine
  • Prison time of two to 10 years 
  • Loss of driver license up to two years

The state also issues fines that are not included with the above consequences. These fines are progressive from $3,000, $4,500 to $6,000, and get issued at sentencing.

There are additional consequences if you have a minor under the age of 15 in the car with you while intoxicated. These consequences include:

  • Child endangerment charges 
  • Additional fines up to $10,000
  • Jail time for up to two years
  • Loss of driver’s license for another 180 days

There will also be additional charges and consequences if the accused has open alcohol in the vehicle with them. It’s important to note that even if you have no alcohol in your blood, having open alcohol in a car is illegal. 

DUI Penalty for Minors

DUI charges are almost always used for minors in Texas. Again, the severity of the consequences will depend on the accused’s driving record and a number of DUI offenses. 

If a minor is pulled because the police suspect alcohol is involved. They are under the requirement of implied consent. This means the minor must agree to either a breath test or a blood sample. The consequences if the minor refuses are much more severe. 

DUI offenses for a minor are considered a Class C. The consequences include:

 

DUI Minor First Offense:

 

  • Fine up to $500
  • 20 to 40 hours of community service
  • 60 days driver’s license suspension  

It’s a pretty common procedure for an alcohol awareness class to be required for the minor and often for the parent, especially if it’s a 2nd offense for the minor.

 

DUI Minor Second Offense:

 

  • Fines up to $500
  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • 120 days driver’s license suspension
  • Likely requirement to attend alcohol awareness class

DUI Minor Third Offense for Under 17 Years of Age:

Consequences of a DWI in Texas 

  • Fines up to $500
  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • 180 days driver’s license suspension
  • Likely requirement to attend alcohol awareness class

The court may consider at the third offense if the case should be transferred to a juvenile court for delinquent conduct. 

DUI Minor Third Offense for 17 to 21 Years of Age:

  • Fines of $500 to $2,000
  • Confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days
  • 40 to 60 hours of community service
  • Likely requirement to attend alcohol awareness class
  •  1-year driver license suspension or 90 days with an ignition interlock device 

 Minors can be charged with DWI charges and the consequences are much more significant. 

Get Legal Help from a DUI Attorney

If you’re facing either a DUI or DWI charge, don’t attempt to go it alone without consulting a DUI attorney. You want to make the smart choice and get some legal help before you’re standing in front of a judge. 

 

While the consequences seem like they’re spelled out, often there are ways an attorney can negotiate on your behalf. You also want an attorney to make sure the criminal justice system is affording you all of your rights. 

 

DWI cases also move swiftly. There are some short and important deadlines you don’t want to miss in your case. It can make it harder to fight your case if you miss them. 

 

You need to connect with an experienced attorney who knows how to move forward with your case.

Consequences of a DWI in Texas

A DWI or driving while intoxicated is a serious offense and one that nobody should take lightly. The very real potential for catastrophic results won’t be far from a judge’s mind as the consequences are dished out. 

 

If you or someone you love has been arrested for DWI or a DUI, you need to get some legal help. Let us help you figure out how to proceed with your case. Contact us today so we can get started working on your case.