You can be charged with a DWI, driving while intoxicated, if you operate a motor vehicle in a public place while having a Blood Alcohol Content of  0.08%, or higher; or lacking the normal physical or mental abilities to drive because of ingesting alcohol or drugs.

The penalties for a DWI charge include:

For a first time DWI charge –

  • Between three and 180 days in jail and/or probation.
  • Fines up to $2,000.
  • Driver’s license revocation of up to one year.
  • Annual driver’s license fee between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years.

For a second DWI charge –

  • Between one month to one year in jail and/or probation.
  • Fines up to $4,000.
  • Driver’s license revocation for up to two years.
  • Annual driver’s license fee between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years.

For a third DWI charge –

  • Between two to 10 years of imprisonment and/or probation.
  • Fines up to $10,000.
  • Driver’s license revocation for up to two years.
  • Annual driver’s license fee between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years.

Installation of an ignition interlock device

Texas law requires certain people who are convicted of a DWI to install an ignition-locking device in their vehicle that stops an individual who had been drinking from driving.  You may need to install this device while on probation for a DWI if you are a subsequent offender, a first offender with a BAC of at least 0.15%, or a first offender under the legal drinking age of 21. There is a substantial monthly charge.

Penalties for having a DWI and a child passenger

If you carry a passenger under 15 years old and are charged with a DWI you may face the criminal charge of “child endangerment”. The penalties include:

  • Up to two years in jail
  • Fines up to $10,000
  • Driver’s license revocation for 180 days
  • Court costs
  • Reimbursement for court-appointed attorneys fees.

It is typical that if you are charged with a DWI, your driver’s license will be suspended by the Texas Department of Public Safety.  You have 15 days to appeal the suspension of your driver’s license and ask for a hearing before a judge. You can request a live hearing or a telephone hearing. You can have an attorney handle this hearing or you can handle it yourself.  You can appeal if you lose at the hearing, but appeals are relatively rare.