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What Penalties Could You Face for a DWI in Texas?

One person dies in Texas every eight hours and 31 minutes in a DWI-alcohol-related traffic accident. In 2021 alone, more than 1,000 people were killed in Texas, and thousands more were injured. These statistics have resulted in law enforcement taking a firm approach to people being caught driving under the influence, even if not all cases are straightforward.

If you’re caught driving with more alcohol in your system than permitted or committing alcohol-related crimes, there’s a chance you’ll face some of the following severe penalties.

First Offense

While your Fort Worth DWI lawyer will work hard to reduce the penalties associated with a DWI offense, even your first one can often have consequences. There’s potential for you to receive a three to 180-day prison sentence along with a fine of up to $2,000. Typically, those caught driving over the legal drinking limit also lose their license for three months to one year.

However, if your blood alcohol level sits at 0.15 or higher, punishment can sometimes be even more severe, with possible jail time for one year and a $4,000 fine.

Second Offense

Many Fort Worth DWI lawyers represent people who have already been caught drink-driving in the past and now face penalties for a second offense. Penalties for second offenses are typically more severe than first offenses, with those caught facing possible fines of up to $4,000, jail time from one month to one year, and a loss of their driver’s license for up to one year.

While the best lawyers can use several tactics to reduce or throw out your DWI charges, it’s essential to be aware of the repercussions of your actions.

Third Offense

Repeat offenders caught driving under the influence for the third time in Texas can face far fiercer penalties than second and first offenses. It doesn’t matter whether you attended a party and didn’t know you were over the limit or you believed you were sober; you might face a $10,000 fine, two to 10 years in prison, and a loss of your driver’s license for up to two years if you are caught.

Driving With a Child While Impaired

Drink-driving by yourself is a punishable offense, but driving with a child can often come with even more severe penalties. If that child is under 15 years old, you might face child endangerment charges. You might also be fined up to $10,000, put in jail for up to two years, and lose your driver’s license for an additional 180 days.

Driving With An Open Container

You might think you’re doing the right thing by not drinking before arriving at your destination, like a party or your own home. However, Texas has open container laws. If you’re caught driving with an open alcoholic beverage, even if you’re sober or under the legal drink-driving limit, you might face a fine of up to $500. If convicted of this Class C misdemeanor, you also have a permanent criminal conviction on your record.

The best DWI lawyers in Fort Worth, Texas, can work hard to reduce the penalties associated with a DWI in Texas. However, it’s crucial to understand how harsh the penalties can sometimes be. If you’ve been caught driving under the influence, reach out to a trusted DWI lawyer for help and to learn more about possible repercussions.


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