Texas DWI penalties can be tough on anyone. If you’re caught drinking and driving, the penalties, hidden costs, and DWI fines in Texas can impact your life in ways not outlined in a Texas DWI statute. 

DWI consequences range in severity and are contingent upon a variety of factors. These factors can include everything from your blood alcohol content (BAC) level to your legal history to your chosen defense tactics. Here’s everything you need to know about Texas DWI penalties.  

Texas DWI penalties broken down by offense

It’s true — Texas DWI penalties can get harsher depending on whether it’s your first, second, or third offense. So if you’ve landed on this article and it is your first offense, let’s hope it’s your last one. If it’s not your first one (and even if it is) then you’ll want to stop what you’re doing and contact a Board Certified DWI specialist right now. The sooner you can start prepping for your case, the better.

What is the punishment for a DWI in Texas?

First Offense

  • Fines: up to $2,000
  • Jail time: up to 180 days
  • License suspension: up to two years
  • License renewal fee: up to $2,000 per year for three years

Second Offense

  • Fines: up to $4,000
  • Jail time: up to one year
  • License suspension: up to two years
  • License renewal fee: up to $2,000 per year for three years

Third Offense

  • Fines: up to $10,000
  • Jail time: up to 10 years
  • License suspension: up to two years
  • License renewal fee: up to $2,000 per year for three years

Keep in mind, if someone is hurt or killed as a result of your drinking and driving, then these fines and penalties will be considerably harsher. In this case, you’ll need to consult with a Houston intoxication manslaughter lawyer. You can also receive harsher penalties if there was a child in the car or if you refused to take a chemical test at the time of your arrest.

It’s also important to remember that if you get a DWI outside of a traditional vehicle (even if you get a DWI on a scooter), the above fines and penalties remain the same.

The hidden costs of Texas DWI penalties 

Aside from the initial fines and possible jail time associated with a DWI, there are a slew of other hidden Texas DWI penalties you’ll need to worry about. These “hidden costs” won’t necessarily show up as a bill in your mail, but they can show up as missed opportunities, income, and more. 

1. Say goodbye to driving

As we mentioned previously, your license will be suspended for a certain amount of time. Once your suspension is up, then you’ll need to have the necessary funds to renew it. If you don’t have those funds right away, then you’ll be stuck Ubering or riding the bus for even longer. 

Not being allowed to drive might not seem like a huge issue at first — but if you think that, you might want to bite your tongue. Not having a reliable form of transportation can keep you from jobs, family, friends, vacations, and more.

2. What about your child custody arrangement?

If you’ve been through a child custody battle or plan on going through one in the future, things will definitely be more difficult for you with a DWI under your belt. Even with an experienced child custody lawyer at your side, you will have an uphill battle. The other parent can use a DWI against you, and judges frequently side with that parent.

3. Your right to own a gun may no longer be a right

In Texas, people love their guns. If you’ve been convicted of DWI, however, that love will typically go unrequited. Depending on how you’re charged, you may not be able to buy a gun with a DWI on your record or obtain a CHL. There are a lot of stipulations involved, as well — including an extensive waiting period.

4. Difficulty finding and keeping a job

As many are well aware, it’s very difficult to get and keep a job if you have a stain on your record (especially for something as serious as a DWI). So if you’re wondering, “How long does a DWI stay on your record in Texas?” — unfortunately, the answer could be “forever.” With the help of a DWI lawyer, however, you may be able to avoid this fate. Make sure to read up on DWI expungement and deferred adjudication. 

A top-rated Houston DWI attorney can help you reduce or avoid Texas DWI penalties 

There are plenty of ways to fight Texas DWI penalties — whether they’re for your first, second, or third offense. From issues with BAC testing to problematic traffic stops to interesting facts buried within a written report, a qualified and experienced DWI lawyer can leverage many different angles to have your charges dismissed or reduced. 

Investing in a good lawyer now can save you from years or possible decades of Texas DWI penalties, including fines and hidden costs. Thiessen Law Firm’s Mark Thiessen is both a Board Certified Criminal Lawyer and Board Certified DWI Specialist. He also has won over 100 Not Guilty verdicts for his clients (Class B Misdemeanor to First Degree Felony) and 1000s of dismissals.

In other words, we have a proven track record of successfully fighting Texas DWI penalties and charges, including helping our clients get their first DWI in Texas dismissed and navigating the ins and outs of pretrial diversion in Texas

If you’ve been charged with a DWI, don’t wait. Contact us today to start prepping your case or give us a call at 713-864-9000.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.