A driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge will inevitably lead to significant personal inconvenience. Spending a night or a weekend in jail is only the start of the hassle involved. If you choose to defend yourself, you will need to go to court. If you plead guilty, you will have a criminal record and face penalties determined at the discretion of the judge presiding over your case.
While first-time DWI offenses don’t necessarily lead to a lengthy jail sentence in Texas, they can cost you your driver’s license. On the heels of an arrest and the suspension of your license, installing an ignition interlock device (IID) may seem like yet another penalty. However, it could help you move on with your life more quickly.
First-time DWI offenders may be eligible to start driving with an IID
The penalty someone faces for DWI charges will increase with each subsequent arrest. Technically, installing an IID in a vehicle after a DWI isn’t a penalty. It’s a privilege that can help someone get back to their normal daily life after an arrest.
A first-time charge will lead to the most lenient penalties. However, there is a mandatory driver’s license suspension that can lead to significant personal hardship. You will not be able to drive for anywhere from 90 days to a year, depending on the sentence the judge issues in your case. The state will suspend your license, leaving you at the mercy of public transportation or rideshare services.
Drivers recently convicted of their first DWI who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of under 0.15% can potentially start driving again after serving part of that suspension. If they apply for the IID program, they can obtain a restricted license that lets them drive a vehicle with an IID installed after serving part of their license suspension.
There are trade-offs involved, as installing an IID will cost money, as will its maintenance and calibration. However, being able to regain your driving privileges more quickly can significantly reduce the financial and career consequences of a conviction. Other drivers may have a requirement to install an IID as part of their sentence.
Learning more about the Texas approach to DWI charges and driving privileges can help those trying to minimize the consequences of a conviction.