Are you facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Dallas? If so, and this is your first offense, you’re going to have a lot of questions. What are the penalties? What are the other consequences you might not think about?
In order to help you better understand the ramifications of a DWI conviction in Texas, we are going to shed some light on the subject.
If you have further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Peter Barrett, a top-rated defense lawyer!
DWI Under Texas Law
In Texas, it’s illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08%; however, a driver can be arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, regardless of BAC. This means that if you blow under .08%, you can still be arrested and prosecuted for DWI as long as the prosecution can prove that your ability to drive safely was “impaired.”
Aside from alcohol, a driver can be arrested for driving under the influence of any drug, including illegal street drugs, such as marijuana, LSD, and cocaine, and even lawfully prescribed prescription drugs, such as Xanax, Lunesta, Oxycodone, Codeine, Ritalin, Methadone, and dozens of other formulations.
Penalties for a first DWI offense:
- A fine not to exceed $2,000
- Up to six (6) months in jail
- Up to two-year driver’s license suspension or revocation
- An annual fee up to $2,000 for three years to keep your driver’s license
After a first DWI, the penalties increase with each subsequent offense. For example, a second DWI is punishable by up to a $4,000 fine, up to one year in jail, a driver’s license suspension or revocation for up to two years, and an annual fee of up to $2,000 to retain one’s driver’s license for three years.
Lesser-Known Consequences of a DWI
Now that you’re familiar with the fines and penalties involved in a DWI conviction, let’s take a look at the other aspects of your life that can be affected by a DWI conviction:
- Your auto insurance will skyrocket
- A conviction will affect employment and housing opportunities
- A felony DWI can mean you lose your firearm privileges
- A drug-related DWI can lead to deportation (for Green Card holders)
- You can be barred from travelling to Canada for up to 10 years
- A DWI can affect a child custody battle
- A DWI can affect a military career
- A DWI can affect a career in law enforcement
- A DWI can bar you from obtaining a security clearance
- A DWI comes up on background checks
- A DWI can affect college scholarships
- A DWI can bar someone from obtaining many types of professional licenses
Aside from the above, if you’re arrested for DWI with a child passenger, the state can charge you with “child endangerment,” which is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine, up to two years in jail, and a loss of driving privileges for up to six months.