The consequences for a DWI conviction in Texas can differ significantly depending on the offender’s record.
The punishments, including fines and jail time, are generally less severe for first-time offenders. However, a DWI is still a serious charge with a lasting impact.
Penalties for first-time offenses
Drivers’ license suspensions are a common punishment for DWI offenders, and a first-time conviction in Texas could result in a suspension lasting between 90 days and a year. During that time, it is still possible to drive with an occupational license and an ignition interlock device. A first-time offender could also have to pay fines up to $3000 and serve between 72 hours and six months in jail. Multiple convictions can lead to longer suspensions and jail sentences as well as higher fines.
Avoiding a DWI conviction
Although the penalties for first-time DWIs are less harsh, it is still preferable to avoid a conviction. There are many legal strategies first-time DWI offenders can pursue. Sometimes, the evidence supporting the case is questionable. Furthermore, inappropriate or incorrect police conduct before or during an arrest can impact the outcome of a case.
Some DWI defendants plead guilty to lesser charges, such as reckless driving. In addition, Texas law allows people facing first-time DWI charges to apply for deferred adjudication. The offender must serve a term of probation involving community service, drug screenings and use of an ignition interlock device. However, there is no DWI conviction on the offender’s record once the term is complete.
In Texas, first-time DWI offenders typically face lower fines and shorter sentences. Furthermore, first-time offenders have legal options for avoiding a DWI conviction.