A person accused of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Texas can be punished in a variety of ways if convicted.
Normally, a conviction for DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours. The maximum term of confinement for a Class B Misdemeanor is 6 months in jail. There is also the possibility of a fine of up to $2,000.00.
There are several factors that can enhance the classification of a DWI (driving while intoxicated) offense and also the possible punishments one may face if charged with DWI (driving while intoxicated) in Texas.
If you have been previously convicted of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) a second offense may be charged as a Class A Misdemeanor with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days and a maximum term of confinement of 1 year. Additionally, the possible fine that may be assessed doubles from that of a Class B Misdemeanor up to $4,000.00.
If it is shown on the trial of a DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Texas that at the time of the offense the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person's immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor (or Class A Misdemeanor if you have been previously convicted of DWI), with a minimum term of confinement of six days or 30 days if you have been previously convicted of DWI. If it is shown on the trial of DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) case in Texas that an analysis of a specimen of the person's blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum term of confinement of 1 year and a maximum fine of $4,000.00.
For example, if you are arrested for DWI with a Child Passenger in Texas, you will most likely be charged with a state jail felony. A state jail felony has a punishment range beginning at six months in state jail and ending at two years in state jail.
Additionally, you may be charged with a Third Degree Felony if at the time you are arrested for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) you have been previously convicted of Intoxication Manslaughter, or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas, or you have been previously convicted two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated. A Third Degree Felony has the possibility for punishment as follows: imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for any term of not more than 10 years or less than 2 years and in addition to imprisonment, an individual adjudged guilty of a felony of the third degree may be punished by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
There is also the possibility of community supervision (probation) for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Texas. The terms, conditions, and possibilities for probation for DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Texas are complex and will be the subject of a future post.