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What penalties are possible when charged with a Texas DWI?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | DUI Defense

People often don’t treat driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges like serious criminal offenses unless there’s a crash involved. However, both police officers and prosecutors in Texas take DWI charges very seriously.

People who get behind the wheel after drinking or doing drugs can cause fatal crashes and extensive property damage. Professionals who have seen the consequences of impaired driving are often quite assertive in their enforcement of DWI laws.

Someone accused of drinking and driving will face numerous significant penalties if they plead guilty or get convicted in court. What penalties can a judge impose in a DWI case?

Jail time

Incarceration is a risk after a DWI arrest. A first-time offense might mean up to 180 days in prison, and there is a mandatory minimum of three days in state custody. However, those arrested for a repeat offense or who face aggravated charges could serve up to ten in state custody. Cases involving minors in the vehicle or crashes will often have heightened penalties possible.

Significant fines

A guilty plea could become a very expensive mistake, especially if you have prior DWI charges on your record. The courts can impose direct financial penalties in addition to the court costs and other expenses related to a DWI. A first DWI can lead to $2,000 in fines. That fine increases to $4,000 for a second offense and then more than doubles for a maximum fine of $10,000 after a third DWI.

Drivers may have to pay for ignition interlock device (IID) installation and maintenance. They also have to cover court costs and can expect their insurance costs to increase following their conviction in addition to those large fines.

License suspension

Someone who has never made a major traffic mistake before can expect a DWI to massively disrupt their life. They could potentially lose their license for up to a year. Repeat offenses can lead to two years without driving privileges. Those with repeat charges or who hurt someone else prior to a DWI arrest may have to install an IID when they seek to regain their driving privileges.

Someone who has violated traffic safety laws will often lose their driving privileges. That recognizing how serious the penalties you face could be May inspire you to defend yourself against Texas DWI charges.