Texas DWI Penalties

Texas law states penalties for first, second, third and subsequent DWI offenses in the Texas Penal Code Section 49.04. The consequences of a DWI offense increase with each arrest, and the court is allowed to augment each offense with additional penalties as it sees fit. Chris Abel has worked with prosecutors on behalf of his clients to decrease the level of punishments for DWI offenses or get them dismissed altogether.

First DWI Offense – Class B Misdemeanor

Fine: Up to $2,000

Jail: County jail sentence between three and 180 days. However, if an open container of alcohol is present in your car when you are arrested, the minimum sentence is six days.

Community Service: Between 24 and 100 hours

Suspension of License: Between 90 days and one year

Probation: Generally the length of a DWI probation is one to two years. Typical conditions of probation include:

  • Drug and alcohol evaluation
  • DWI education class to be completed within 180 days from the date of conviction
  • Attend a Victim Impact Panel
  • Report monthly to a probation office, pay all fines and costs in a timely manner

Additional Conditions of Probation: These conditions are added to probation if the DWI arrest comes with unusual facts, a history of alcohol problems, or prior traffic incidents. These can include:

  • Deep lung air device – This device is installed in your vehicle and requires a breath sample before it will allow your car to start. Some devices require periodic breaths while driving.
  • Alcohol treatment – This includes attendance at Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or other counseling programs
  • Consume no alcohol – This is monitored by random alcohol tests and the order can go so far as to ban a probationer from entering establishments where alcohol is sold
  • Restitution – For any damages not covered by insurance

Second DWI Offense – Class A Misdemeanor

Fine: Up to $4,000

Jail: County jail sentence between thirty days and one year

Community Service: Between 80 and 200 hours.

Deep lung air device: Required for all DWI second offenders during probation.

Suspension of license: Between six months and two years

Probation and additional conditions of probation also apply to second DWI offenses. Additional conditions are more likely for a second offense, and the length of probation may be longer. Penalties may also be enhanced if the second DWI offense takes place within 10 years of the first offense.

Third DWI Offense – Felony of the Third Degree

Fine: Up to $10,000

Jail: State prison sentence between two and 10 years

Deep lung air device: In addition to being ordered as a condition of bond, installation of the device may also be ordered as a condition of any occupational or provisional licenses that may be awarded after conviction

Community Service: Between 160 and 600 hours

Suspension of license: Between six months and two years

Additional Penalties: In some cases the Substance Abuse Felony Probation program is ordered. This program requires confinement in a state prison for alcohol rehabilitation. Another popular condition for habitual DWI offenders is a prescription for a drug named "Antabuse." This drug will make a person violently ill if any alcohol is consumed. Probation and the prior listed additional penalties may also be imposed for a third DWI offense.

Texas DWI with a Child Passenger

DWI can be a felony offense if there is a passenger in the car younger than 15 years of age. It is a state jail felony and can carry a range of punishment of anywhere from 6 months in jail to 2 years in jail and a fine up to $10,000.

Call a DWI Defense Attorney Today

If you or someone that you know has been charged with a DWI in Denton County or Tarrant County, call or contact Chris Abel. Mr. Abel can provide you with an initial consultation to discuss your options in your case.