If you have been arrested for DWI in Texas one of your main concerns is what penalties you can expect after the DWI arrest and conviction. Unfortunately, although most drivers may be most concerned with going to jail, there are a variety DWI penalties that can be very costly and may impact your ability to drive for years.
First Steps after Texas DWI arrest
The first step after the DWI is to contact a Texas DWI lawyer. As mentioned above, jail may be your biggest concern but it will not be all you will need to consider prior to determining whether you should plead guilty or fight the drunk driving charges. What else could you face if you are convicted of a Texas DWI?
You could be charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, forced to pay fines up to $2,000, required to spend at least 72 hours in jail but no more than 6 months (up to 6 days is required if you have an open container in the car). Mandatory community service for at least 24 hours, probation for one to two years, a drug and alcohol evaluation, attendance at a Victim Impact Panel and an additional annual fee to the Texas of Department of Motor Vehicles.
These drunk driving penalties and fines are in addition to an administrative license suspension that you could face if you either refused to submit to a chemical test or you took a chemical test and your blood alcohol concentration level was above the legal limit of 0.08%. Drivers will receive a 180 day suspension for a first DWI chemical test refusal and 90 days for a test which is above the legal limit. Most drivers do not realize these penalties are imposed by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles regardless of whether or not they are eventually convicted of DWI.
Prison terms for Felony Drunk Driving
Texas has some of the toughest DWI laws in the nation. Although your first DWI will be considered a class B misdemeanor and you may only spend up to 180 days in jail, if you are convicted of a second DWI you may face up to one year in jail.
Prison terms become even lengthier if you are charged with a third DWI. The third DWI will be considered a third degree felony. If you are convicted for a third DWI you will have to spend 2 to 10 years in state prison.
What if you seriously injured another driver? This could also result in a drunk driving charge for a third degree felony and you could spend 2 to 10 years in state prison. What if you kill another person while you are intoxicated? Charges will rise to a second degree felony and you can expect to spend 2 to 20 years in state prison.
Hiring a Texas DWI lawyer
We had a driver recently ask about how much time they can expect to spend in prison if they are convicted for a DWI. As outlined above, the answer to this question will depend on whether this is their first, second or third DWI and whether or not they have seriously injured or killed another driver. Talk to a DWI lawyer in Texas for more information about the DWI penalties you can face if you convicted of DWI.