If you have been arrested for driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of at least .08 percent – or .04 percent if you are a commercial driver’s license (CDL) holder – or while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both, you will be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas. Penalties for a DWI conviction carries harsh criminal penalties, such as driver’s license suspension, fines, and even jail time.
The following is a breakdown of the DWI penalties in Texas:
- First DWI – A Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a jail term between 72 hours (3 days) and 180 days, license suspension between 90 days and one (1) year, and fines of up to $2,000. For commercial drivers, a first-time conviction will result in CDL suspension for up to one year, along with the other penalties mentioned above. If a commercial driver was operating a vehicle transporting hazardous materials at the time of the DWI arrest, the suspension period lasts up to three years.
- Second DWI – A Class A misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence between 30 days to one year, license suspension between 180 days and two (2) years, and fines of up to $4,000. For commercial drivers, a second-time conviction will lead to permanent CDL suspension.
- Third DWI – A third-degree felony, punishable by a prison term between two (2) and 10 years, driver’s license suspension between 180 days and two (2) years, and fines of up to $10,000. However, getting a third DWI or more after serving at least one (1) prior state prison term is a second-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence between two (2) and 20 years, license suspension for up to two (2) years, and fines of up to $10,000. Lastly, getting a third DWI or more after serving at least two (2) prior state prison sentences is an “enhanced felony penalty,” punishable by imprisonment between 25 years and life.
Keep in mind, aggravating factors (e.g. high BAC, child passenger, or DWI involving injury or death) can lead to increased criminal penalties – even for a first offense. Also, the fines do not include other court-related fees.
For minors (drivers under 21 years of age), any amount of alcohol in their system will read to a DUI charge. A conviction can result in license suspension between 30 and 180 days, community service between eight (8) and 40 hours, alcohol education classes, and a maximum fine of $500.
No matter what type of DWI charge you face, having an experienced, board certified criminal defense lawyer on your side can make a huge difference between avoiding serious penalties or getting convicted. Our legal team at Goza & Carreras, Attorneys at Law have more than 40 years of combined experience handling a wide range of DWI cases in Fort Worth and the surrounding areas. We can listen to your story, assess your case, and figure out all your legal options to help you get the most favorable results. Let us protect your rights inside and outside the courtroom.
Facing DWI charges in Fort Worth? Call us today at (817) 402-2188 and request a free consultation to learn how we can help you.