If you’ve been pulled over by the police and accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you are undoubtedly nervous about your future. You are likely worried about how this will affect your future.
You may be wondering, “what is the penalty for a first DWI conviction”? Texas law takes intoxication offenses very seriously, and the penalties vary depending on the specific facts in your case.
Facing a potential DWI conviction can be terrifying. You may feel like this single mistake will blemish your record.
Fortunately, the Austin Hagee Law Firm, PLLC, can answer your question, what is the penalty for a first-time DWI?
Our experienced DWI defense attorneys can examine all the evidence and facts in your case and try to help you minimize how this one mistake will affect your reputation and future.
What Is the Penalty for a First-Offense DWI in Texas?
A first-offense DWI, with no aggravating factors, is considered a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, or both. You also face a driver’s license suspension of up to one year if you become convicted.
The court may grant a first-time offender deferred adjudication instead of a jail sentence. A deferred adjudication typically requires you to meet several requirements, including:
- Completing a DWI education program,
- Attending a Victim Impact Panel,
- Testing for drug and alcohol misuse,
- Attending a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program, and
- Completing a required number of assigned hours of community service.
Community service hours must be spent working with programs that benefit the community’s well-being.
If you complete all of the court-ordered requirements for your deferred adjudication, the court will dismiss your DWI offense.
In many first-time DWI cases, you can also apply to the court to have your arrest and the record of your deferred adjudication sealed. Legally, this means that your record will appear as though you were never arrested or convicted of a DWI.
What Is the Penalty for a First-Offense DWI with Aggravating Factors?
What is the penalty for a first DWI conviction if there are aggravating factors? Several factors might significantly increase the penalties for a first-offense DWI.
Impaired Driving with a Child Passenger
If you are pulled over for drunk driving with a child passenger under Texas Penal Code §49.045, you face enhanced penalties even for a first offense. This is because this offense is a state jail felony charge and not a misdemeanor.
A child passenger, under this Texas law, is defined as a child under the age of 15. A conviction for this offense is punishable by up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. If convicted, you may also lose your Texas driver’s license for up to 2 years.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) 0.15% or Higher
If your BAC is 0.15% or over at the time of your arrest, the offense increases to a Class A misdemeanor. A conviction for this is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car. This device measures your blood alcohol level and prevents you from operating the vehicle until you have an acceptable level, which is usually 0.00 blood alcohol concentration.
Refusal of Chemical Test
A refusal to submit to a chemical or alcohol test at the time of arrest, for a DWI, may result in an administrative license revocation (ALR) for up to 180 days. An ALR penalty is in addition to the statutory penalties you may face upon a criminal conviction.
Get in Contact with a San Antonio, Texas DWI Defense Lawyer
If you have a brief lapse in judgment and face a DWI charge, you’re likely worried about the penalty and how a conviction will affect your life. A first-offense DWI can have serious repercussions, but all is not lost.
An experienced and skilled defense attorney can significantly improve your odds of beating a DWI charge or minimizing its impact on your record and future.
The DWI defense attorneys at Austin Hagee Law Firm, use their experience as former prosecutors to develop a strong defense strategy to help each client minimize the impact of a DWI charge on their life and to get back on track.
Contact us for a confidential consultation today, so we can find the right approach for your case.