What are the penalties for drinking and driving?

Some mistakes can have bigger consequences than others. When a person makes the decision to drive after they have been drinking, they can face stiff penalties if they are convicted of a DWI.

Drinking and driving is a serious criminal offense in Texas. Estimates are that every 20 minutes a person is injured or killed by a drunk driver. These accidents can all be prevented if a driver does not make the decision to drive after they have been drinking. But, if they make that mistake and are convicted of a DWI, they can face serious consequences.

A person's first DWI conviction can lead to a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail. They can also have their driver's license taken away for up to a year and have to pay an annual fee of $1,000 to $3,000 to keep their driver's license for the first three years.

A second DWI offense may include a fine of up to $4,000 and up to a year in prison. The driver's license may be taken away for two years and they will have to pay a fee of up to $2,000 each year for three years to keep their license. A third DWI has a fine of up to $10,000 and jail time from two to 10 years, a loss of a driver's license for two years and the annual fee of up to $2,000 each year to retain a driver's license. In addition, those who have been convicted of two or more DWIs in five years will need to install an ignition switch that prevents a person from starting their car if they have been drinking.

Because of the serious consequences that a DWI conviction can bring, a person who is facing a DWI charge may want to enlist the help of an attorney who is skilled in criminal defense. It is necessary to aggressively defend against these charges.

Source:, "Driving while intoxicated (DWI)", accessed on Feb. 26, 2017

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