Receiving a DWI charge for the first time can be a terrifying experience. You might be wondering about how this charge will impact your future education and employment opportunities, and the types of penalties you will have to undergo if the court convicts you. Knowing the penalties that Texas law establishes for first-time DWIs can help you to know what to expect.
Possible jail time
The Texas legislature set the limit of alcohol concentration you can legally have in your blood while driving to less than 0.07. If the police pull you over and find that you are above that limit, they can charge you with a DWI. This is a Class B misdemeanor, and the police can incarcerate you for 72 hours or more.
The possible jail time increases to six days if you had an open container of alcohol in the passenger area of the car at the time of your arrest. Jail time also increases if your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 or above.
If you had a child younger than 15 years old in the car with you when the police pulled you over, the prosecutor can increase the charge against you to a felony. This comes with increased fines and jail time.
Suspension of your drivers’ license
If you receive a conviction, the Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend your drivers’ license for up to two years. You will also have to pay a fee to get your license reinstated at the end of this period.
In addition, you may need to attend an alcohol education program. Under certain circumstances, the court may even require you to install an ignition interlock device in all of your vehicles at your own expense.
These possible penalties might make the situation seem hopeless. It’s important to remember, however, that they only kick in if you are convicted. You still have the opportunity to contact an attorney, prepare a defense and fight the charges.