When you’re charged with a DWI in Texas, hiring an attorney is your best shot at being able to get your DWI charges reduced or dismissed completely. Unfortunately, even with an attorney representing you, your case may not turn out the way you hoped, and you could be convicted.
If that’s the case, it’s important to understand Texas law when it comes to a DWI and the possible penalties you may be facing after conviction.
Understanding a DWI
You may have heard the term DWI, driving while intoxicated, and DUI, driving under the influence, but what’s the difference? Some states use the terms interchangeably to refer to driving drunk.
However, in Texas, DWI refers generally to driving while drunk. A DUI charge is rarer. This charge is given when someone younger than twenty-one is pulled over with any blood alcohol content up to .08 percent. Once the offender hits .08 percent, he or she gets a DWI instead.
After being stopped, you may be asked to submit to a breathalyzer or field sobriety test. The outcome of this test will be used to determine whether charges are necessary. Before a person is convicted with a DWI, many factors are taken into account, including age, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), license type, and even previous convictions.
Texas doesn’t take a DWI charge lightly, so the penalties upon conviction can be extremely harsh.
DWI Penalties in Texas
BAC, age, and license type will all be considered when you facing DWI charges. A conviction for a DWI can happen if:
- You are twenty-one years of age or older with a BAC of .08%
- You are a commercial driver twenty-one years of age or over with a BAC of .04%
- You are under twenty-one years old with ANY detectable amount of alcohol in your system
Each of these specific cases will carry with it its own penalties; however, the general punishments are as follows:
- First Offense – Suspended license up to two years, fines up to $2,000, and jail time between three and 180 days
- Second Offense – License suspension up to two years, up to $4,000 in fines, and jail time between one month and one year
- Third Offense – License suspension up to two years, participation in a DWI intervention or education program, up to $10,000 in fines, and between two and ten years in prison, as well as a possible ignition interlock system on your vehicle
These are just the general penalties, but much more about your DWI will be taken into account when it comes down to sentencing time. Outside of the monetary penalties and jail time, you can expect a significant stain on your criminal record. Depending on your lifestyle, you may also see that a DWI conviction can take a toll on your personal and professional relationships.
Arm Yourself with Legal Representation
While a DWI conviction can seem like the end of the world, it doesn’t have to be. The best way to understand the possible convictions you may face and the defenses you could make is to contact an attorney.
Even after you have been convicted, an attorney can help you with appeals or probation, so don’t think you’re down for the count.