Explanation of the different Texas DWI Penalites, Probation and Charges.

Conviction

Offense Level

Maximum Fine

Jail Range

License Suspension

1st DWI and BWI Class B Misdemeanor Up to $2,000 72 hours to 180 days 90 to 365 days
2nd DWI and BWI Class A Misdemeanor Up to $4,000 30 to 365 days 180 days to
2 years
3rd DWI and BWI 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 180 days to
2 years
Intoxication Assault 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) 180 days to
2 years
Intoxication Manslaughter 2nd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Corrections (TDCJ) 180 days to
2 years
DWI with child passenger State Jail Felony Max Fine $10,000 6mos. To 2 years in a State Jail Facility 90 days to 2 years
1st DWI with Open Container Enhancement Class B Misdemeanor Up to $2,000 6 days to 180 days 90 days to 365 days

Texas DWI and Probation

What is Probation?
For all practical purposes, probation is an agreement between you and the judge.  The judge agrees not to impose a jail sentence (called suspending a sentence) in exchange for you agreeing to do certain things and “not do” certain things during a certain period of time.  This period of time is called the “probationary period” and a probationary period can be up to 2 years on a first offense .  Technically, all convictions include a jail sentence.  However, it is not uncommon, for the judge to suspend all or part of the jail time and place you on probation.

First Texas DWI Conviction Probation
In most cases, if you have no prior convictions, the judge will suspend your entire jail sentence and place you on probation for anywhere between 6 months and two years.  A typical probation is for a period of one year and while on probation you are typically required to do the following:

  • Report to the probation officer assigned to you monthly.
  • Pay fines, court costs, and monthly probation fees.
  • Do community service, anywhere from 24 to 80 hours.
  • Attend a Texas DWI Education class.
  • Attend a (VIP) Victim Impact Panel.  This is a class designed to educate individuals on the effects of DWI.  It typically is about a 3 to 3 ½  hour class.
  • Get a drug and alcohol evaluation. If the evaluation signifies an issue with drugs or alcohol, the court may order treatment.
  • Maintain a job and support all of your dependants.
  • Take random urinalysis.

Conversely, the Judge will order that you NOT DO the following:

  • Drink alcohol or take drugs.
  • Patronize bars, clubs, or lounges.
  • Violate the law.
  • Socialize with persons of questionable moral character.
  • Basically, don’t get in trouble or hang out with folks that do!

Second DWI Conviction Probation
Texas law requires the judge sentence you to at least some jail time as a condition of probation on a second offense.  You hear attorneys call this “jail therapy”.  But, the judge can and most likely will still suspend the remaining part of any sentence and place you on probation.

A second Texas DWI conviction carries with it a minimum of 72 hours (3 days) of continuous confinement in a county jail as a condition of being granted probation.  This means if you get convicted or plead guilty to a second offense , the judge must sentence you to 3 days in jail.  If this 2nd conviction is within 5 years of the 1st conviction, the judge is required to sentence you to 5 days in county jail as a condition of receiving probation.  In addition to the “Do”s and “Don’t”s stated above, the court will require the following as part of its agreement with you:

  • Community service increases from 80 hours to 200 hours.  The amount of community service is negotiable within the 80-200 hour parameter.
  • The judge is required by law to order anyone convicted of a second DWI to drive only a vehicle equipped with an Ignition Interlock Device.  This device only allows your vehicle’s engine to start once you have provided a breath sample and no alcohol is detected from that breath sample.  If alcohol is detected, the court would be notified of the detection.

Third Texas DWI Conviction Felony Probation
The law requires the judge to sentence you to 10 days in the county jail as a condition to receiving probation on a felony DWI charge.  In addition to the conditions stated above, the following may be imposed in lieu of a lengthy jail sentence:

  • Community service increases to anywhere between 160 to 600 hours.
  • 10 days county jail sentenced as a condition of probation.
  • Participate in substance abuse/alcohol programs whether they be in-patient or out-patient.

Intoxication Assault Probation
Intoxication Assault is defined as a person causing serious bodily injury to another by reason of driving while intoxicated.  Serious bodily injury includes injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement.  Probation is still an available option with court approval.

In addition to the conditions for a first probation, the probation conditions of Intoxication Assault include:

  • Community service anywhere between 160 to 600 hours.
  • 30 days in county jail as a condition of probation
  • Participate in substance abuse/alcohol programs whether they be in-patient or out-patient.

Intoxication Manslaughter Probation
Intoxication Manslaughter is defined as causing death to another by accident or mistake due to operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.  Although it is possible to receive probation for Intoxication Manslaughter, it is highly unlikely because you must agree to a trial by jury.
If you obtain probation for Intoxication Manslaughter, the following conditions, in addition to the conditions for a 3rd DWI, apply:

  • Community service anywhere between 240 to 800 hours.
  • Serve a minimum jail sentence of 120 days.
  • Participate in substance abuse/alcohol programs whether they be in-patient or out-patient.

Boating While Intoxicated (BWI)
In Texas, Boating While Intoxicated carries the same penalties and license suspension issues as does a DWI.  The State must prove the same elements as in any typical case or that you lost the normal use of your physical or mental faculties or had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over 0.08 while operating a boat on a public body of water.  Your license will likewise be confiscated and we will need to challenge the state’s attempt to suspend your Texas driver’s license.

Flying While Intoxicated (FWI)
Likewise, in a Texas Flying While Intoxicated case, the same potential penalties apply as in a Driving While Intoxicated case.  The State is required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged lost the normal use of his/her physical or mental faculties or had a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) over .08 while operating an aircraft.

Assembling or Operating an Amusement Ride While Intoxicated
As with Driving While Intoxicated, Assembling or Operating an Amusement Park Ride While Intoxicated is illegal.  The government is required to prove that you assembled or operated an amusement park ride while you had lost the normal use of your physical or mental faculties or that your blood alcohol content was above .08.

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