Penalties for driving while intoxicated

On Behalf of | Feb 11, 2020 | DWI

Driving while intoxicated is a dangerous practice that may have tragic results. People may have a few drinks and not realize how impaired alcohol has made them. The repercussions of a DWI charge may be severe. 

Texas law stipulates stringent penalties for drinking and driving, although the specifics vary for each case. In many instances, people must pay fines and have their driver’s license suspended, which may cause difficulties in daily life. 

The DWI definition 

The police decide if someone is DWI by impairment or per se. Impairment means that they observe a person exhibiting a lack of mental or physical faculties due to alcohol, which they may use standard field sobriety tests to evaluate. However, per se means that a person’s blood alcohol concentration was over the legal limit of 0.08%, which a breath test or blood test measures. 

The DWI penalties  

The penalties for a DWI vary significantly, depending on how many offenses a person has committed. For a first offense, a person may face three days to six months in jail, up to $2,000 in fines and a suspended driver’s license for up to one year. However, if one can pay an annual fee of $1,000 to $2,000, he or she may retain the driver’s license. 

For second offenses, the penalties may include 30 days to 12 months behind bars, a $4,000 fine and a suspended driver’s license for up to two years. A third offense may result in up to 10 years behind bars, up to $10,000 in fines and a two-year driver’s license suspension. 

If a child under 15 is in a person’s automobile at the time of the DWI, it is child endangerment and the repercussions may be more severe. The penalties for a first offense may include up to two years in jail, a $10,000 fine and a suspended driver’s license for six months.