DWI in Texas First Offense- Texas law, a person commits an offense of driving while intoxicated (DWI) when he or she is caught operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated because of alcohol or drugs. What meets the criteria for being intoxicated for purposes under the law is not having the normal use of one’s mental or physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol, or having a 0.08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that causes impaired faculties. The law also states that intoxication can also result from the use of drugs or a combination of alcohol and drugs.

A law enforcement officer can stop and investigate someone in Texas when he or she has a reasonable suspicion the person is intoxicated. The officer can attempt to determine the level of impairment by administering field sobriety tests or asking for a test to analyze the BAC of a driver. A driver has the right to refuse to participate in these tests, but it will likely result in their arrest.  The officer will also get a warrant to take a sample of the driver’s blood.  The government must prove that the BAC of the driver was at or above 0.08 at the time the person was driving the vehicle.

In Texas, DWI offenses carry serious consequences that can negatively affect every facet of one’s life well into the future. DWI fines and penalties are especially severe, even for a first-time offense. A DWI conviction includes hefty fines and potentially jail time, as well as a suspension period of the driver’s license. If someone’s first arrest is for a DWI (or if he or she has no prior convictions), he or she will be charged with a misdemeanor in most cases; whether it is designated as a class B misdemeanor or a class A misdemeanor depends on the BAC. 

Specific penalties for first-offense DWI convictions include the following:

  • Up to six months of jail time
  • Monetary fine of up to $2,000
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year
  • No more surcharge fees on driver’s license, but there can be an additional fine from $3,000 to $6,000

Further, depending on the outcome of the case, the court might also require other actions by the offender, include the following:

  • Installation of an ignition interlock device on one’s vehicle
  • Performance of community service
  • Regular meetings with and following orders from community supervision or probation
  • Attendance at DWI education program, victim impact panel, or rehabilitation center

Of course, there are other consequences besides the penalties under Texas law for a DWI conviction. One’s life can be negatively affected in many ways, from a damaged reputation to difficulty securing housing, loss of professional licensure to loss of a job, or even negative impacts to parental custody rights if divorced.

What to Do if You Get a DWI in Texas

The state of Texas takes DWI offenses extremely seriously, and the financial penalties can be severe, even for first-time offenders. Collin Evans is a Houston DWI attorney with years of experience and success in court. He can help you navigate Texas DWI laws.  Contact the Collin Evans Law online or by phone at 713-225-0650 for more information on how to handle your DWI case and to schedule a free consultation.