Fort Bend DWI Criminal Penalties Attorney
Driving While Intoxicated is a class B misdemeanor with a range of punishment of 3 to 180 days in jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000.00. However, Texas law increases criminal penalties for persons with prior DWI convictions. An individual who pleads “guilty” or “no contest” to a DWI charge may not receive deferred adjudication.
First Offense Criminal Penalties
In most circumstances, a person convicted of DWI for the first time will not be required to spend time in jail but will, upon his timely application, receive community supervision (probation). The maximum term of probation is 2 years. As a condition of probation, the person will be ordered to pay a fine, report to a probation officer, perform community service, abstain from the use of alcohol and attend a DWI education course. In addition, a person’s driver’s license may be suspended for up to 1 year. However, if you receive community supervision and take the court ordered DWI course you will be able to keep your license.
- Note: If an open container of alcohol is present in the passenger compartment, the minimum period of confinement is increased from 3 to 6 days
Second Offense Criminal Penalties
A person convicted of a second DWI faces a minimum term of confinement of 30 days with a 365-day maximum along plus a fine not to exceed $4,000,00. A person convicted of a second offense is eligible for community supervision (probation) but will be required to serve a minimum of three days in jail as a condition of community supervision. In addition, the person may be restricted to the operation of a motor vehicle equipped with an ignition interlock device. The interlock is a breath alcohol testing device which is connected to a car’s ignition system. Before starting the car, the driver must blow into the device which then analyzes the specimen to determine the alcohol content. If the alcohol content is above the specified amount, the vehicle will not start. Similarly, at random intervals, while the vehicle is being operated, the interlock will request additional breath specimens for analysis. All test results are recorded and available to court personnel.
A second DWI which is punished as a class A misdemeanor but for which probation is not granted will result in an automatic suspension of not less than 180 days or more than one year.
Third Offense – Felony
If a person is convicted of a third DWI and it is shown that he has previously been convicted of two or more offenses relating to the operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, the person is guilty of a third degree felony which carries a range of confinement in the penitentiary for not less than 2 years nor more than 10 years plus a fine not to exceed $10,000. In the event community supervision is granted, the individual will still be required to do a minimum of 10 days in jail as part of his probation. The period of license suspension is up to 2 years.
DPS Administrative Surcharge
In addition to criminal penalties, a person convicted of a first DWI will be required to pay a surcharge of $1,000.00 per year for three years as a condition to maintaining his license. The annual surcharge increases to $1,500 per year for a second or subsequent conviction within a 36 month period. If the person is shown to have had an alcohol concentration of .16 or greater, the surcharge is $2,000 per year for three years. Failure to pay the surcharge or enter into an installment payout agreement will result in suspension of the license until all payments are made.