More than two dozen people were arrested on felony DWI charges in Montgomery County last month. Right about now, they may be wondering just how serious is a DWI charge in Texas.
For them — and for you — we have answers.
First, each DWI case is unique, with different circumstances that can spell the difference between a case being dismissed and punishments with increasing severity.
For instance, as the Houston Chronicle recently reported, 7 of the 28 individuals arrested for felony DWI in Montgomery County in April face a DWI charge involving a child passenger.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, defendants can be charged with child endangerment for driving while intoxicated with a child passenger who is younger than 15 years old. The penalties for this offense can include up to two years in prison, a fine of as much as $10,000, and the loss of their driver’s license for as many as 180 days.
Otherwise, a first or second DWI offense in Texas is treated as a misdemeanor crime. A third offense becomes a felony.
First offense DWI
Penalties for a first-offense DWI charge can include a fine of up to $2,000, jail time of at least 3 days (and no more than 180 days), and suspension of a driver’s license for up to a year. Defendants must pay between $1,000 and $2,000 per year for 3 years to retain their license.
Second offense DWI
Penalties for a second-offense DWI charge in Texas can include a fine of up to $4,000, jail time of 1 month to 1 year, and loss of a driver’s license for up to 2 years — again with a yearly fee of $1,000 to $2,000 for 3 years to retain the license when it’s regained.
Third offense DWI
For a third DWI offense, which is a felony, a defendant can face punishments including 2 to 10 years in prison, a fine of as much as $10,000, and having their driver’s license suspended for up to 2 years. Again, even upon having their driver’s license restored, defendants can face a yearly fee of as much as $2,000 for 3 years in order to retain their license.
Also, according to TxDOT if you have 2 or more DWI convictions within 5 years, you must have a special ignition switch installed on your vehicle to prevent it from operating if you’ve been drinking.
In Texas, a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more means that you’re legally drunk for the purpose of a drunk driving charge. But not all BAC tests are accurate, and not all DWI arrests are appropriate.
If you face a DWI charge in Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Houston or the rest of Harris County, notify an experienced DWI defense lawyer for help. Our intoxication defense lawyers at the Neal Davis Law Firm stand ready to help you defend your legal rights.
In particular we can help you to avoid 10 common mistakes after a DWI arrest.
Contact us today for a legal review of your DWI case. Your future may depend on it.