Texas DWI Penalties, Fines & Sentencing

When faced with a Texas DWI arrest and/or conviction, there are a number of issues to consider: Will you have to serve jail time? If so, for how long? Or is probation a possibility? What will you owe in fines? Will your license be suspended, and for how long? Will you have to go to a DWI school or do community service? Here are the basic laws regarding Texas DWI fines and sentencing.

Texas DUI Glossary of Terms

Texas DUI Insurance Consequences

What Happens When You Get Stopped for Drunck Driving?

How Does a Drunk Driving Conviction Affect Your Record?



First Texas DWI Offense:


Texas Criminal Status: Class B Misdemeanor

Jail: Minimum 72 hours, or 6 days if open container is present.

Texas DWI Fines/Costs: Fine not to exceed $2,000. Other administrative and evaluation fees may be assessed. TX imposes a “surcharge” for a DWI on top of regular fines. The surcharge is $1,000 per year for three years for a first DWI offense and $2,000 if the person’s BAC level was double or more the legal limit (.16). Texas License Suspension: Yes, 1 year. Attending DWI Education class may avoid this. Occupational license may be granted based on need.

Violation of Zero Tolerance Law: N/A

Texas Conditional License: A conditional, or occupational license, may be issued based on "essential need" and usually only when the court orders an offender into alcohol assessment/rehabilitation. Offenders who have been granted occupational licenses within 10 years are ineligible. For definitions of “essential need”, see Transportation Code Section 521.241.

Vehicle Impound: None

Texas DWI School: First time offenders must complete a 12 hour DWI Education Program within 180 days of when probation was granted or risk having their license revoked.

Texas Probation: Terms of probation decided by judge or jury.

Texas Community Service: 24 hours required, but no more than 100 hours.


 

Second Texas DWI Offense Plus:


Texas Criminal Status: Class A Misdemeanor. A 3rd DUI is a 3rd degree felony.

Jail: 72 hours, not more than 1 year. A 3rd DUI can mean 2-10 years in the penitentiary.

Texas DWI Fines/Costs: Fines not to exceed $4,000. Other administrative and evaluation fees may be assessed. TX imposes a “surcharge” for a DWI on top of regular fines. The surcharge is $1,500 per year for three years for a second DWI offense and $2,000 if the person’s BAC level was double or more the legal limit (.16).

Texas License Suspension: Yes, 180 days to 2 years. Occupational license may be granted based upon need.

Vehicle Impound: None.

Texas DWI School: Repeat offenders must complete a 32 hour DWI Repeat Offender Program.

Texas Probation: Terms of probation decided by judge or jury.

Texas Community Service: Minimum 80 hours, but no more than 200 hours.


 

Other:

DWI and Driving with Minor: It is a felony to drive while intoxicated with a minor younger than 15 years of age in the vehicle.

Commercial Vehicle: Over .04 BAC level may suspend a commercial driver’s license for one year and up to 3 years if the driver was carrying hazardous materials.

Under Age: 21

Texas DWI Insurance Consequences: How a DUI/DWI Affects Your Car Insurance.

Texas Open Container Laws: Yes, driver and passenger. This is a Class C Misdemeanor.

How long does a DWI stay on your record? A DWI conviction in Texas stays on your driving record forever.

Driver Responsibility Tax: TX imposes a “surcharge” for a DWI on top of regular fines. The surcharge is $1,000 per year for three years for a first DWI offense, $1,500 per year for three years for a second DWI offense and $2,000 for a first or subsequent conviction if the person’s BAC level was double or more the legal limit (.16).

Ignition interlock device program: Required in order to be released from jail on bond. Required for all second-offenders during probation.

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