Lara Bracamonte Davila

Doing What Is Right For You

What are the penalties for a first-time DWI in Texas?

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Criminal Law

It is surprisingly easy to wind up accused of DWI. Many people do not realize that their blood alcohol content is well over the 0.08% legal limit because, physically, they feel fine.

Furthermore, many people might not realize that Texas authorities can file DWI charges if they believe a person was too intoxicated to operate a vehicle safely. They do not have to even take a breath or blood test before making an arrest.

Many hard-working residents of the greater Dallas area may be facing their first DWI despite living very productive lives.

The penalties for even a first DWI in Texas are steep.  A person can face jail for up to 180 days and must either spend 3 days in jail or perform some sort of equivalent punishment, like community service.

They also may face a fine of up to $2,000 and could face other consequences, like mandatory counseling, as well. Additional fines and fees may apply, and a person will also face a license suspension of at least 90 days.

One should keep in mind that these are penalties for a first DWI with no special circumstances. For example, if the DWI involved an accident or if there was a child in the vehicle, more serious felony penalties could apply. Likewise, if a person has a BAC of over .15, they will face harsher punishments.

There are other consequences to a DWI beyond criminal penalties

A person accused of their first DWI should also understand that there are many other consequences beyond criminal penalties.

  • A person’s insurance rates will go up, assuming they will even be able to find suitable automobile insurance.
  • Commercial drivers will likely lose their commercial operating privileges for 1 year.
  • Anyone who drives as part of their job may have to find other employment. Even those who do not drive for their job regularly may have their career opportunities affected.
  • Certain professionals may face actions against their licenses for a DWI.
  • The DWI could become an issue in a family law matter or in a civil case.
  • A DWI is a criminal conviction that goes on a person’s permanent record.
  • There are other possible consequences that can be hard to anticipate.

A person charged with a first-time DWI should make sure they understand their options and defenses before agreeing to plead guilty.