Under Tex. Pen. Code § 49.04(b)–(d), a DWI occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. A first DWI conviction typically is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours and a maximum term of confinement of 180 days. A first-time DWI conviction also may result in a fine of up to $2,000, license suspension, and an annual fee or surcharge of $1,000 for three years in order to keep a valid driver’s license.
However, certain aggravating circumstances may increase the potential charges and penalties for DWI. For instance, if a blood, breath, or urine test shows the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to be 0.15 percent or more, the offense becomes a Class A misdemeanor, and the annual surcharges will increase to $2,000 for three years. Likewise, if the individual has a passenger who is a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle while driving intoxicated, the offense becomes a state jail felony, which can result in a prison sentence of up to two years, a license suspension of 180 days, and as much as a $10,000 fine. Various other circumstances may result in greater penalties for a DWI conviction, as well.
The number of prior DWI convictions also impacts the penalties for subsequent DWI charges. A second-time DWI offense typically is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, and the minimum sentence of incarceration is 30 days, ranging up to one year. A second-time DWI conviction also may result in a fine of up to $4,000, license suspension, and annual surcharges of $1,500 for three years.
More serious criminal charges and penalties may result in if the DWI offense results in injury or death to another person. Elevated charges and additional penalties also apply when the offense causes serious bodily injury or death to certain individuals, such as emergency medical services personnel, firefighters, peace officers, and judges.
An experienced Texas drunk driving defense attorney can help you build a strong defense against any criminal charges. Taking steps to get you released from jail and fight for your rights at the beginning of your case is typically easier than waiting until your case may be too far gone to fix. Contact Peek & Toland at (512) 474-4445 today and see how we can help.