Enhanced law enforcement efforts to crack down on motorists who drive after consuming alcoholic beverages are a daily occurrence on highways and roads throughout Texas. Operating a motor vehicle in the state with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or greater is sufficient proof of driving while intoxicated under Texas law.
Drinking and driving Consequences in Texas
Texas law authorizes a wide array of penalties for judges to impose upon a person convicted of DWI. Some of them include:
- Jail or imprisonment
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device
- License suspension
- License surcharges
The number of prior DWI convictions, having an accident or excessively high blood alcohol concentrations can increase the severity of the penalties courts can impose upon a person convicted of DWI in Texas.
Houston Drunk Driving Penalties
A first offense DWI conviction is usually a class B misdemeanor. A judge can impose a jail sentence not to exceed six months, a $2,000 fine or a combination of jail and a fine. The presence of a child under 15 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the offense is a state jail felony for which a person can receive a sentence of six months to two years in a state jail and a fine up to $10,000.
Probation is the most commonly imposed sentence for first-time DWI offenders. The probation period is usually one to two years. Conditions of probation can include community service, DWI education classes, drug and alcohol evaluation and drug or alcohol treatment as deemed necessary.
If a person has prior convictions for DWI, the second conviction is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. A first offender with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or greater can be charged with a class A misdemeanor in the same manner as a person with a prior conviction. Probation for a second offense is possible, but might not be granted as often as it is for a first-time DWI offender.
DWI Consequences in Texas
Conviction of a DWI offense subjects the offender’s driver’s license to suspension upon conviction. First offenders can lose their license for 90 days to one year. The suspension period is longer for those with prior DWI convictions.