DWI CasesDriving while intoxicated, or DWI, is an offense for which deferred adjudication is not available. In other words, to avoid a criminal conviction on a DWI charge, the case must be dismissed, or the charge must be reduced to a lesser offense, or the verdict at trial must be Not Guilty. The chances of getting a Not Guilty depend on the evidence which usually includes field sobriety tests, breath tests, blood tests and bodycam and dashcam videos.
As discussed below, a person with a DWI conviction may be able to get an Order of Nondisclosure. That is a court order keeping the DWI case out of the public records.
Punishment RangesThe range of punishment for a DWI case varies, as shown in the chart below.
|First Offense||Second Offense||Third Offense|
|Jail Time||3 days to 180 days, OR 6 days to 180 days if open container of alcohol in vehicle, OR 180 days to 2 years if person younger than 15 in vehicle (State Jail Felony)||30 days to one year, OR 180 days to 2 years if person younger than 15 in vehicle (State Jail Felony)||2 to ten years prison|
|Fines||Up to $2,000, OR up to $10,000 if person younger than 15 in vehicle (State Jail Felony)||Up to $4,000, OR up to $10,000 if person younger than 15 in vehicle (State Jail Felony)||Up to $10,000|
|License Suspension||90 days to one year||180 days to two years, OR one to two years if second or subsequent intoxication assault offense within previous five years||180 days to two years, OR one to two years if ignition interlock required|
License SuspensionAfter a police officer stops a driver for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the officer may request a breath, urine or blood test specimen. If the driver refuses, then the Texas Department of Public Safety begins a process of suspending the drivers license.
If the driver refuses or fails the requested chemical test, the arresting officer will confiscate the license on the spot. The officer will issue a Notice of Suspension that is a temporary driving permit. The driver then has 15 days from the date of arrest to request a hearing and dispute the suspension.
If the driver is age 21 or over, and does not request a hearing, the license is suspended as shown in the chart below.
|90 Days||One Year|
|No prior alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contact during the 10 years preceding the date of the person's arrest||Driving record shows one or more alcohol-related or drug-related enforcement contacts during the 10 years preceding the date of the person's arrest|
If the driver does request a hearing, the Notice of Suspension allows the driver to continue driving until the driver attends the hearing and receives a final decision. Tex. Transp. Code Ann. Sec. 524. More about the administrative license suspension is found here at DPS website.
The Department of Public Safety requires anyone convicted of DWI to pay a surcharge in order to maintain their drivers license. The surcharge is for three years after the date of the conviction.
|Prior DWI convictions||Alcohol ≥ 0.15||Annual Surcharge|
|DWI within 36 months prior||No||$1,500 annually|