Among criminal justice systems and legal professionals, Texas is fairly notorious for having comparatively strict penalties associated with driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses. Drivers who have been arrested of a DWI, regardless of the evidence or lack of evidence against them, must take the situation seriously and begin working on a viable defense. Otherwise, the Texas criminal justice system will be free to enact its harshest punishments. In our Houston DWI defense law blog, we explore the state’s DWI penalties and how they escalate in this multipart blog series, starting with a first-time DWI conviction.
BAC Legal Limits in Texas
Texas uses the same blood alcohol concentration (BAC) legal limits as all other states in the country. A driver aged 21 or older is automatically considered illegally intoxicated behind the wheel if he or she has a BAC level of 0.08% or higher. Commercial drivers have that limit halved, down to just 0.04%. Minors can be charged with Driving Under the Influence, a Class C misdemeanor if they have any detectable amount of alcohol in their system.
First-Time DWI Conviction Penalties in Texas
As mentioned, Texas does not pull its punches when decided to penalize drunk drivers. Even if there is little proof to show that stricter penalties deter individuals more from repeating the same criminal behavior, the state frequently goes to the top limits when assigning sentencing punishments. You should not assume there will be leniency, and you should always fight your charges to the full extent possible.
When convicted for a DWI for the first time in Texas, penalties could include:
- Fine paid to the state up to $2,000
- Incarceration between 3 days and 6 months
- 2-year probation if no jail time is assigned
- Up to 1-year license suspension
- $2,000 annual surcharge for 3 years following license reinstatement
- Completion of DWI and safe driving educational course (12 hours)
You may also be expected to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle, which prevents you from starting your car unless you first blow a BAC under the legal limit into the device. An IID is generally installed for half a year, but the exact duration will depend on the ruling judge’s discretion. Keep in mind that the monthly fee for having one of these devices is about $100.
Tyler Flood & Associates – Houston’s DWI Defense Counsel
The people of Texas frequently turn to Houston DWI defense Attorney Tyler Flood when faced with a first-time or subsequent DWI. With years of legal experience focused primarily on DWI defense and an impressive list of awards and recognitions, you can be confident that our legal team with explore every avenue and go to all lengths to help you beat your DWI charges. Let’s discuss your case right now – contact our firm to begin with a free consultation.