Texas DUI DWI Penalties
In Texas, drunk driving is a serious offense. Texas DUI laws, also referred to as Texas DWI laws, provide strict sentencing guidelines for those who decide to drink and drive. The severity of the punishment will depend on a number of factors, including whether a minor was in the car at the time of the offense, whether this is your first offense, and whether anyone was seriously injured as a result of your drinking and driving.
Texas DUI First-Time Offenders
A first-time DUI offense in Texas is usually considered a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor is a less serious crime that usually entails less than a year in jail and smaller fines.
Your first Texas DUI offense is punishable by up to a $2,000 fine and anywhere from three to 180 days in jail. You may also have to serve 24 to 100 hours of community service.
Furthermore, you may lose your driver's license for as long as a year, and you may have to pay an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 over a three-year period to retain your driver's license.
There may be additional penalties imposed, such as DWI classes, as well as drug and alcohol counseling. These penalties are usually up to the judge's discretion.
Texas DUI Second-Time Offenders
A second Texas DUI offense also usually counts as a misdemeanor if you did not cause serious property damage or injury to another person.
With a second offense, all penalties increase. Fines can be as high as $4,000, while jail sentences range from three days to a year. Community service hours are also increased to anywhere from 80 hours to 200 hours.
You also may have your driver's license suspended for up to two years. The annual fee to retain your driver's license for the next three years could cost either $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000.
If you are put on probation, you will be required to use a special ignition switch that will not allow you to start your car if you have been drinking.
Texas DUI Repeat Offenders
If you commit DWI in Texas three times or more, you will be charged with felony DWI.
A felony DUI in Texas entails a fine not to exceed $10,000. You may also be jailed for as little as two years and as long as 10 years. You will be required to perform 160 hour to 600 hours of community service.
In addition, your driver's license will be suspended for between 180 days and two years. The same annual fees that apply to second-time offenses apply to subsequent offenses.
If put on probation, you will have to install a special ignition switch that prevents you from driving drunk.
Driving Drunk with a Minor
If you are caught drinking and driving with a child who is younger than 15 years old, you will be charged with felony child endangerment in Texas.
This is a very serious crime that is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to two years. You will also lose your driver's license for 180 days.
Other Texas DUI Crimes
If you injure or kill someone as a result of driving drunk, you may face even harsher penalties.
In Texas, intoxication assault is the act of accidentally causing someone serious bodily injury with your car due to drunk driving. This crime is a third-degree felony in Texas.
Intoxication assault is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of anywhere from two years to 10 years. You may also have to serve 160 hours to 600 hours of community service.
Intoxication manslaughter is an even more serious crime than intoxication assault. Intoxication manslaughter means that you accidentally caused someone's death due to drinking and driving. It is a second-degree felony.
Intoxication manslaughter is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of two to 20 years. You will also have to serve anywhere from 240 hour to 800 hours of community service.