DWI: 1st Offense in Texas

DWI or driving while intoxicated is a series of drug and alcohol-related traffic misdemeanors that usually attract criminal offense litigation in the state of Texas. They are in addition subject to governmental penalties. On the occasion that the alcohol levels in a person’s blood, breath, or urine is 0.08% or more, the law recognizes that individual as being intoxicated.

Moreover, declining to accept a breath, blood, or urine test in Texas also incurs certain penalties. In such an event, the person will receive an automatic suspension of their driving license for at least ninety days for an offender above 21 years of age and at least 1 year if the offender is below 21 years. For more detailed advice on how to act if you are pulled over, contact a DWI Lawyer in Houston.

Texas DWI offenses are categorized into three; 1st Offense (Class B Misdemeanor in Texas), 2nd Offense (Class A Misdemeanor), and 3rd Offense and above (3rd Degree Felony). All these carry different penalties. Penalties for DWI 1st offense vary from those of 2nd and 3rd, but only in degree rather than type.

Penalties for DWI 1st offense have certain guidelines but the degree of the application of these guidelines rests solely at the discretion of the court.

Consider the following penalties meted out for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances in Texas;

  • A fine that shall not be in excess of two thousand dollars
  • incarceration in County Jail for between 72 hours and six months. However, if found with an open canister of alcohol or any other intoxicating substance, this sentence, this term is revised upwards to a minimum of six months.
  • DWI laws in Texas mandate community service are ordered of the offender of no less than twenty-four hours and a maximum of one hundred hours.

Getting a Texas DWI and potential penalties for DWI 1st offense is best fought by hiring a qualified DWI lawyer. This is especially so because understanding Texas DWI laws can be hard and a keen understanding of the same is critical to the outcome of the case.

Basics of a DWI Conviction in Texas

A first offense DWI in Texas is a class B misdemeanor. Under Texas law, you are considered intoxicated if you A. Having a blood alcohol concentration of equal to or greater than 0.08, whether that level was reached through the consumption of alcohol or prescribed medicine is irrelevant under Texas DWI laws. B. Being deemed, by an officer, unable to operate a motor vehicle through the use of any substance that was entered into the body.

Being convicted of the first offense misdemeanor can carry the following penalties. Fine: with a DWI conviction you can be fined up to 2,000. Jail: A minimum confinement to the county jail of 72 hours, jail time can not exceed 6 days. However, if there was an open container in the car during the time of arrest the minimum confinement becomes 6 days in the county jail. Community Service: Texas law mandates that the convicted serve a minimum of 24-hour community service, with the maximum penalty being 100 hours.

Most convicted of a DWI in Texas will also be put under probation lasting 2 years. The probation is often under certain conditions which usually include: Drug and Alcohol Evaluations, Alcohol Education, and attendance at a MADD Impact Victim Panel. If the judge deems it necessary he can order an ignition interlock device. It is imperative to consult the advice of a Houston defense attorney before appearing in court.

If the defendant has had a previous DWI, or prior drug or alcohol offenses the penalties all become increased. If the person has had a previous DWI that happened in the past 10 years, the Texas law requires that to be released from the jail the defendant issue a bond, and an ignition interlock device be installed.

All DWI offenses in Texas also carry license suspension. During the arrest, the defendants’ license will be taken away and a permit for 41 days issued. The suspension can be challenged at an ALR hearing however a hearing must be requested by the defendant within 15 days of arrest to be able to do.