All the hype and rhetoric over DWI enforcement in Texas causes people who get arrested to have the expectation of a very harsh punishment — like a felony conviction, having their arm lopped off, or a bright orange DD tattooed on their forehead.
DWI punishment isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s not quite that bad.
A first offense is a class b misdemeanor — which is in the middle of the misdemeanor range. It’s punishable by a minimum confinement of 72 hours jail and/or a $2,000 fine. While no lawyer can guarantee you any particular result, statistically the vast majority of convictions on first DWI arrests result in probation. This means that any jail time assessed may be put off while you complete community service and various other tasks such as a victim impact panel. There is no deferred adjudication for DWI cases in Texas on any level.
Also if you’re convicted of DWI in Texas for a first offense — you will be assessed a surcharge for three years to retain your driver’s license of $1,000.00. If you have a breath test result of above a 0.15, then the surcharge is bumped to $1,500 per year.
What I’ve been describing so far are the criminal aspects of a DWI. The driver’s license suspension for a breath test refusal is a separate, civil matter, but is usually handled in conjunction with your DWI defense.
Jeremy F. Rosenthal, Esq.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice. For legal advice you should consult an attorney directly.