If you are arrested and convicted of a DWI in Texas there are several important facts to know regarding sentencing. The Hull Firm is here to help you understand the process and what it means to you and your family. We strive to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients, please contact us today for your free consultation.
A DWI in Texas First Offense with less than a .15 BAC is considered a Class B Misdemeanor. This offense carries a maximum $2,000 fine and a maximum jail sentence of 180 days (from 3 to 180 days). The conviction also includes a driver’s license suspension ranging from 90 to 365 days. If the defendant has a BAC of .15 or more the charge increases to a Class A misdemeanor. The increased charge also carries increased penalties – maximum one year in jail and a maximum $4,000 fine. If the defendant is a first-time offender and has a BAC between .08 and .14, the defendant may apply for a “non-disclosure” two years after the conclusion of probation. The “non-disclosure” limits who can view your criminal record. To obtain a non-disclosure a defendant must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle for a period of six months.
A DWI in Texas second offense is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries an increase in fines and jail time, $4,000 and 30 days to one year maximum respectively. The potential driving privilege impact is increased to a range of 180 days to 2 years.
A DWI in Texas third offense is considered a 3rd Degree Felony and carries a significant increase in potential consequences. The defendant can be fined up to $10,000 and receive 2 to 10 years of imprisonment in a state-run penal institution. Driving privileges can be suspended from 180 days to 2 years. A felony conviction disqualifies the defendant from all future voting rights and the right to own a firearm, restricting the defendants 15th and 2nd Amendment rights.
If a DWI is paired with an open alcohol container, the minimum jail penalty is increased to six days.
If a DWI includes a charge of Intoxication Assault the charges and penalties are further increased. Intoxication Assault is a 3rd Degree Felony and is defined as an accident that occurred with serious bodily injury as a proximate cause of the defendant’s intoxication. Potential jail time is increased to a minimum of two years and maximum of 10 years in a state-run prison. The potential fine is up to $10,000. If a vehicle was involved and deemed to be used as a “deadly weapon” an additional penalty is added that prohibits time off for good behavior until at least 50% of the sentence has been served.
A DWI conviction paired with Intoxication Manslaughter is a considered a 2nd Degree Felony. Intoxication manslaughter is a DWI that results in a death where intoxication was the proximate cause of death. If convicted, a defendant is subject to a fine up to $10,000 and from 2 to 20 years in a state-run prison. If probation is granted, a defendant is still required to spend 120 days in jail. If a vehicle was involved and deemed to be used as a “deadly weapon” an additional penalty is added that prohibits time off for good behavior until at least 50% of the sentence has been served.
A DWI with a child passenger is where a DWI occurs with another person in the vehicle that is under 15. This is considered a State Jail Felony. The minimum sentence is 180 days up to a maximum of two years in a state jail. The maximum fine is $10,000.
The most common sentence is DWI convictions is probation. It is important for a defendant to understand what probation is and the obligation of the defendant if probation is sentenced.
Probation is typically assigned to a defendant as a suspension of sentence that may include jail, fines and/or a driver’s license suspension. If a defendant violates probation during the assigned probationary period, the sentence goes into effect. To comply with probation, a defendant will typically:
- Report to a probation officer on a set schedule
- Commit no further crimes during the probationary period
- Perform community service
- Attend DWI and driver’s education courses
- Abstain from alcohol for the probationary period
- Submit to breath tests
- Install an alcohol ignition interlock device
- Participate in and/or make a donation to drunk driving awareness and education programs
- Remain in the resident county unless permission to leave is granted by the court
- Pay a monthly fee to the probation office
DWI Conviction in Texas
How long will the case be pending?
Cases in Travis County take anywhere from 9-14 months to resolve.
Is it possible to get the DWI reduced?
Yes. If your BAC is greater than 0.15 and there was no accident involved, sometimes the State will dismiss the DWI and refile the case an “Obstruction of a Passageway”. This is still a Class B misdemeanor, but it is not alcohol or drug related.
What type of punishment could I get with a DWI conviction?
That depends. If your BAC is greater than 0.15, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. If your BAC is greater than 0.15, you will be charged with a Class B misdemeanor which is punishable up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. You may also get probation.
Will I have to pay surcharges on my license if I am convicted of DWI?
Yes. If this is your first conviction on a Class B, you will have to pay $1,000/year for 3 years. If this is your second conviction on a Class B, you will have to pay $1,500/year for 3 years. If you take a conviction on a Class A, you will have to pay $2,000/year for 3 years.
Will a DWI be on my record forever?
That depends. If this is your first DWI conviction on a Class B DWI and there was no accident involved, you can potentially get your record sealed. If you have an ignition interlock device (IID) for six months while your case is pending or after your case is plead, you can get your DWI arrest sealed two years after the date you successfully complete probation. If you do not have an IID, you can get your arrest sealed five years after the date you successfully complete probation.
If my DWI gets dismissed and refiled as an obstruction, will that be on my record forever?
You can get an obstruction sealed off your record two years after the date you successfully complete probation.