If you were recently charged with a DWI in Texas, it’s good to know the criminal consequences of such offenses. Depending on the circumstances of your offense, your freedom, finances, and your future could all be in jeopardy. This is the reason you should learn about the consequences of your actions and seek help from a reputable Houston DWI lawyer.
Of course, the first consequence many people think of is jail time. However, the jail time imposed varies depending on the circumstances of your offense and the level of offense. For instance, your first DWI will be classified as a Class B misdemeanor. It can result in a maximum of 180 days in jail. Here are other factors that can determine the time you spend in jail.
- If it’s your first DWI, the minimum confinement is 72 hours
- The minimum confinement would be 6 days if an open alcohol container was found in your car
- The offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor if your blood alcohol content is 0.5 or more. You will spend up to a year in jail.
- The offense would be bumped up a state ail felony if you had a kid under 15 years in the car. Such an offense carries 180 days to 2 years in jail.
- In case a third party is seriously injured, the offense is classified as a third-degree felony and is punishable by 2 to 10 years imprisonment.
- If the injured third party is a firefighter, EMS or a police officer and the injury occurs while any of the professionals are executing their duties, the DWI offense is classified a second-degree felony and is punishable by 2 to 20 years imprisonment.
- If any other person dies, the DWI offense is a second class felony.
In some case, DWI results in accidents associated with deaths of police officers, EMS or firefighters who were already executing their duties. Such a DWI case is bumped up to the first-degree felony and has a punishment of 5 to 99 years imprisonment.
Your second DWI will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by at least 30 days and a maximum of 12 months in jail. If your second DWI involved death or injury to a passenger, then it’s increased. The new offense level will depend on the prior and current charges. Your third DWI will be perceived as a third-degree felony with a maximum of ten years in jail.
Other punishments for DWI offenses include;
- Fines: For a Class B misdemeanor, you can be fined up to $2000, Class A misdemeanor ($4000), and for all felonies, the maximum fine is $10,000.
- Pre-trial diversion: You, the defendant must comply with specific conditions of supervision, and your charges might be dismissed upon successful completion. This form of punishment might not be available in all counties in Texas.
DWI charges are serious and may result in a very long jail time. For this reason, you need a knowledgeable lawyer to represent you.