If you were arrested on suspicion of DWI, you need to know what is at stake. The potential consequences of a conviction can be harsh and could affect many aspects of your life. Texas law provides for jail or prison time, fines and the loss of your driver’s license for specific time periods, depending on whether this is your first conviction for drunk driving or your third. Depending on the circumstances, you could also face additional penalties for aggravating factors.
If this is your first offense, you face jail time between three and 180 days, the suspension of your license up to one year and fines that reach into the thousands of dollars. A second offense within five years of the first one raises the potential jail time to between one month and one year, the loss of your license for up to two years and escalating fines. A third offense could result in your incarceration for a minimum of two years and maximum of 10 years, higher fines and the loss of your license for two years. In addition, for a second or third offense, you could be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle that keeps you from driving if any alcohol is detected in your system.
If you refuse to take a breath test, are under the age of 21 or have a child in the car at the time, additional penalties could apply. If you are in an accident while impaired, you could be charged with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, depending on whether someone is injured or killed. Drivers who hold a CDL can only have a blood alcohol level of up to .04 percent instead of the .08 that ordinarily triggers a drunk driving charge.
As you can see, the potential consequences of a DWI could have a significant impact on your life. It might be possible to avoid one or more of these penalties with the proper legal representation. In fact, if this is your first offense, you have options that might keep your record clean and prevent you from spending time in jail. It would be in your best interest to contact a Texas DWI attorney as soon as possible after an arrest.