Penalties for DWI convictions in Texas

Get educated about the types of violations and penalties associated with driving while under the influence of alcohol in Texas.

The laws governing drinking and driving in the state of Texas are strict. Even an arrest for driving while under the influence of alcohol can have serious repercussions for drivers and a conviction only increases the challenges that must be faced. Many highly responsible people have found themselves accused of DWI offenses and in need of help. Knowing what penalties may result can be important if in such a situation.

Texas DWI penalties for convicted drivers

In general, the specific penalties that a driver may face after a conviction for a DWI offense will vary based upon whether or not any prior convictions have taken place. The consequences commonly include a combination of fines, incarceration and loss of driving privileges. Having a minor in a vehicle when arrested for a DWI will also increase the penalties if a conviction is achieved.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, following are some of the basic consequences for different drunk driving offenses:

  • For any first-time conviction of a drunk driving offense, driving privileges may be suspended for up to 12 months. Drivers can be ordered to stay in jail for as many as 180 days and pay up to $2,000 in fines.
  • For any second-time conviction of a drunk driving offense, driving privileges may be suspended for up to 24 months. Drivers can be ordered to stay in jail for as long as one full year and pay up to $4,000 in fines. Once driving privileges are reinstated, the use of an ignition interlock device may be required.
  • For any third-time conviction of a drunk driving offense, driving privileges may be suspended for up to 24 months. Drivers can be ordered to stay in prison for as little as two years and as long as 10 years and pay up to $10,000 in fines. Once driving privileges are reinstated, the use of an ignition interlock device may be required.

In addition to the above penalties, any driver convicted of an impaired driving offense must pay $2,000 annually to the state in order to maintain the right to drive.

For underage drivers that are arrested for impaired driving, the drivers' licenses will be suspended for 12 months and drivers will be required to take special courses regarding the use of alcohol.

Open containers also a danger

The Texas penal code outlines provisions regarding open alcoholic beverage containers in vehicles as well. No such containers can be found in any passenger area of an automobile. If open containers are found by law enforcement, additional penalties may apply.

Always get legal help

Any driver who is arrested for a suspected drunk driving offense should contact an attorney immediately. The serious nature of these violations require the right help from the start.

Keywords: drunk driving, arrest, charges, penalties