If you are facing a drunk driving charge in Texas, it is imperative to understand what the consequence of a conviction may be. There are harsh penalties assigned to those found guilty of drinking and driving, and the criminal record can follow you for your entire life.
In accordance with the Texas penal code, if you are a first-time offender, you will only face a Class B misdemeanor charge as long as no aggravating factors are present. A conviction of this charge will result in a fine of up to $2,000 and a minimum of three days up to a maximum 180 days in jail. Additionally, you will lose your driving privileges for up to a year. A second offense is considered a Class A misdemeanor and brings with it up to a year in jail, fines of up to $4,000 and a loss of driving privileges for up to two years.
Third or more DWI offenses will be pursued as a felony, which can bring up to a decade in jail and a $10,000 fine in addition to a two-year loss of driving privileges. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, if you have two or more convictions of driving drunk over the course of five years, you will have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. The Texas DOT also points out that following any conviction, you will have to pay a fee of between $1,000 and $2,000 every year for three years in order to keep your license.
Several aggravating factors can increase these penalties, such as the following:
- Causing an accident that leads to injury or death
- Fleeing the scene
- Driving with a child passenger
Criminal and administrative penalties aside, a DWI conviction will also create much larger auto insurance rates. Some employers may also pass on workers with a history of drunk driving.
With these factors in mind, it is imperative to start building a compelling defense as soon as charges are filed against you. While this information may be useful, it should not be taken as legal advice.