Know the penalties for Texas DWI

Texas law mandates significant criminal and legal penalties for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers may receive jail time, fines and license suspension for a DWI conviction if they display blood alcohol content above 0.08% or above zero for drivers under 21. 

Learn more about Texas DWI penalties before facing a court date for this offense. 

First-time DWI 

Mandatory minimum jail time for an initial Texas DUI is 72 hours, with a possible sentence of up to six months. Drivers also receive fines of up to $2,000 and a 12-month license suspension for a DWI conviction. Upon license reinstatement, you must use an ignition interlock device for 12 months at your own expense. The court can double both your fines and jail sentence for measured BAC above 0.15% at the time of arrest. 

Second-time DWI 

Another DWI offense within five years of the initial offense carries at least 30 days and up to one year in jail. Fines double to $4,000 and license suspension increases to two years. 

Third-time DUI 

For the third offense in the same five-year period, you could receive at least two and up to 10 years in jail. Fines may increase to $10,000, but the license suspension period remains the same. 

If you live, work or regularly drive in Texas, you must submit to a breath or blood test at the scene of a DWI arrest. Failure to do so carries a 180-day license suspension for the first instance and two-year suspension for each additional refusal within 10 years. These suspensions run consecutively to other DWI penalties. 

Some drivers may qualify for a reduced charge depending on the case circumstances. For example, some offenders can plead guilty to a wet reckless, which is a misdemeanor, and avoid jail time. The court may also dismiss your case for procedural irregularities such as issues with the breath test.