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What Happens if You Get Convicted of a DWI in Texas?

A young woman, being stopped by police at night for a traffic violation.

A Texas DWI lawyer & defense attorney explains

Texas has some of the stiffest DWI penalties in the U.S.

With so much at stake, we are often asked "What happens if I get convicted of DWI?"

Driving while intoxicated (DWI) carries many penalties in Texas, potentially including thousands of dollars in fines, imprisonment, and loss of driving privileges. It often also means a period of DWI probation. In Texas, probation is also known as "community supervision."

A Texas DWI conviction can be very expensive, too. Between bail, legal fees, court appearances, court-ordered classes, car insurance hikes, and other expenses, the cost of a single DWI can be $17,000 or more, according to a study done back in 2010. The cost of a single DWI has increased significantly since then. That's why if you're facing charges, you should consult with an experienced DWI lawyer who knows how to craft a strong defense.

DWI penalties in Texas

What happens if you get convicted of a DWI largely depends on your age, blood alcohol content (BAC) level, and driving history. Texas has separate charges for underage drivers and adults who get behind the wheel too drunk to drive. The state also gives out additional penalties to people who were allegedly driving with a "high" BAC defined as anything 0.15 or more (0.08 is the legal BAC limit for operating a passenger vehicle).

Most states wipe a DWI from your record after years of good behavior. Some require as many as 10 years of good driving. Texas, however, never wipes a DWI from your record.

Texas has specific penalties for first, second, third, and subsequent DWI convictions. Your first offense may lead to up to 1 year of imprisonment. A third or subsequent conviction is a felony and can get you a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines. If bodily harm is done, a judge can sentence you to imprisonment for up to 20 years.

For a first offense, people lose their driving privileges for 90 days unless an exemption can be negotiated.

DWI probation

Most DWI convictions include a period of community supervision (probation). This can be expensive. Community supervision often includes paying for classes, additional fees, and rehab. Attending driver education classes, therapy sessions, and doing community service are all typically expected to be done during your license suspension, which can be a hassle as well as expensive.

In general, terms of DWI probation include:

  • No less than 72 hours of continuous confinement in a county jail all the way up to no less than 120 days of confinement for repeat offenders
  • Check-ins with a supervisory officer
  • Pay for all or part of rehabilitation services for drug or alcohol abuse
  • Complete drug and/or alcohol abuse programs
  • Submit to a court-ordered evaluation
  • Completion of a driver education program before the 181st day after the start of community supervision

In addition to terms of your sentence and probation, Texas will most likely require you to pay a state fee of $3,000 to $6,000.

Facing charges in Texas? Protect your rights and call a DWI attorney

In Texas, a DWI conviction can have serious and long-lasting repercussions. Your auto insurance provider may drop you after a DWI. You may be forced to purchase insurance on the secondary market at an average increase of 44% of your current rate. A DWI conviction can make it difficult to get a good job, professional licenses, housing, loans, and education.

If you have been charged with drunk driving in Texas or think charges are coming, schedule a free case review with an experienced DWI defense attorney.

Attorney Amanda Webb has a reputation for successfully fighting back against DWI charges. She has a deep understanding of the law and how prosecutors think. And she knows what it takes to get the best possible outcome in your case. To find out how we can help you, contact us today.