May 7, 2024

Photo of Man Drinking Beer While Driving

Getting charged with a DWI in Texas is a serious matter, even if it’s the first time you’ve been in trouble with the law. Many people wonder if they will have to serve jail time for their first DWI. 

While a jail sentence is certainly possible for a first offense, it’s not mandatory. It’s important to understand all the possibilities for a DWI in Texas and work with an attorney who is well-versed in state laws.

Napier Law Firm is a leading legal firm in Texas focused on defending DWI cases. Our experienced attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of the DWI laws in Texas and work to minimize or prevent jail time for first-time DWI offenders. This blog post details what could happen with your first DWI in Texas.

Understanding First Offense DWI Charges

In Texas, a first-offense DWI is seldom charged as a felony. Instead, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. The following are typical charges for first-time DWI offenses:

Class B Misdemeanor

The most common charge for a first DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. You may be sent to the county jail for three to 180 days and need to pay fines up to $3,000. 

Class A Misdemeanor Charges

If you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or higher, you may face more extensive charges. With a Class A DWI conviction, you may spend up to one year in jail and pay fines up to $4,000 with the potential for $4,000 more. You will likely be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Either of these DWI charges will result in license suspension. This suspension may last anywhere from 90 days up to two years if you are sent to a state jail as part of your sentencing.

Can I Avoid Jail for a DWI Arrest?

DWI offenses are serious matters in the state of Texas. If you are facing a DWI charge as a first-time offender, it is possible that you could spend time behind bars, though you have a chance to avoid this penalty.

Jail time is not mandated for a first DWI offense in Texas, and your attorney could help you get deferred adjudication. However, this will require entering a no-contest or guilty plea and agreeing to follow the conditions that the judge sets. Successful completion will mean that there is no final conviction though, which may be the best option in your situation.

Other options could be DWI probation or community service, though if there are any aggravating factors such as having a child passenger present during your traffic stop or a car accident that caused injuries or fatalities, it will upgrade your criminal charge. You could face intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter, which each have severe penalties of their own.

How a DWI Attorney Can Help You Fight a First Offense DWI in Texas

From the moment the police officers pull you over to your first day in court, it can be a scary situation when you are charged with DWI. It isn’t always an open-and-shut case, though. The arresting officer needs to have probable cause to pull you over. Once they make this stop, they could ask you to perform a breath test or other measures to check your level of intoxication. Often, these devices fail or the officers haven’t been properly trained to use them.

While it’s less likely you’ll be charged with a felony for your first drunk driving incident, you will want to avoid being convicted. A conviction will stay on your record and could impact your career, your car insurance rates, and your ability to rent or own a home. Fortunately, you have legal options that can help you move forward in the right direction.

Napier Law Firm offers a free consultation to discuss your case. During this initial consultation, you’ll learn how we can work toward the best outcome possible to help you avoid the most serious consequences.