DWI Penalties in Houston, Texas

Fighting Your DWI Charges

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI), one of the most pressing questions that you will likely be asking yourself is what penalties you may face. DWI is outlined under Texas Penal Code §49.04 as the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence, which is a class B misdemeanor. The penalties for this offense are serious and can be not only mildly inconvenient but can leave a permanent blemish on one's criminal record.

Our Houston DWI lawyers fight to challenge DWI charges in order to help our clients avoid these serious penalties. Using our founding attorney's experience as a former prosecutor and our own understanding of DWI laws and cases in Texas, our team provides the level of legal counsel that can make all the difference in these cases. If you'd like to learn more about DWI penalties or are interested in discussing your case with an attorney, we can help.

Penalties For a First, Second, and Third Offense

For a first DWI offense in the state of Texas, penalties include:

  • 72 hours to 6 months of confinement;
  • 24 to 100 hours of community service;
  • Up to $2,000 of monetary fines; and
  • 90 to 365 days of license suspension.

For a second DWI offense, penalties include the following:

  • 72 hours to 1 year of confinement;
  • 80 to 200 hours of community service;
  • Up to $4,000 of monetary fines;
  • 180 days to 2 years of license suspension; and
  • Required installation of an interlock ignition device.

For a third DWI offense, penalties include the following:

  • 2 to 10 years of confinement;
  • 160 to 600 hours of community service;
  • Up to $10,000 of monetary fines;
  • 180 days to 2 years of license suspension; and
  • Required installation of an interlock ignition device.

Understanding Texas DWI Laws

The laws against drinking and driving in Texas are found in the Texas Penal Code, Title Ten, Chapter 49 which is titled "Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses." Driving while intoxicated laws can differ depending on jurisdiction, so it is important to understand the penalties you might face if you are arrested. Listed below are excerpts from Chapter 49 that detail the various DWI penalties.

Driving While Intoxicated § 49.04

(a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. (b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

Under this section of the statute, it also makes it a Class A misdemeanor to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher. Unfortunately, breath, blood and urine tests have a margin of error that could increase a Class B misdemeanor (under .15 percent) to a Class A.

Intoxication Assault (DWI with Injury) § 49.07

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake: (1) while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another; (b) "Serious bodily injury" means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. (c) ...an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

Intoxication Assault (DWI with Injury) § 49.07

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, by accident or mistake: (1) while operating an aircraft, watercraft, or amusement ride while intoxicated, or while operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated, by reason of that intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another; (b) "Serious bodily injury" means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. (c) ...an offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.

Intoxication Manslaughter (Vehicular Manslaughter) § 49.08

(a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) operates a motor vehicle in a public place, operates an aircraft, a watercraft, or an amusement ride, or assembles a mobile amusement ride; and (2) is intoxicated and by reason of that intoxication causes the death of another by accident or mistake. (b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a felony of the second degree.

Other Consequences of DWI

Open Container "Possession of Alcoholic Beverage in Motor Vehicle" § 49.031

a) In this section: (1) "Open container" means a bottle, can, or other receptacle that contains any amount of alcoholic beverage and that is open, that has been opened, that has a broken seal, or the contents of which are partially removed. (2) "Passenger area of a motor vehicle" means the area of a motor vehicle designed for the seating of the operator and passengers of the vehicle. (d) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

DWI with Child Passenger § 49.045

(a) A person commits an offense if: (1) the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and (2) the vehicle being operated by the person is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age. (b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Boating While Intoxicated § 49.06

(a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a watercraft. (b) Except as provided by Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.

Call Houston DWI Attorney Herman Martinez!

This is not a comprehensive list of DWI penalties by any means, so for the most accurate answers to your questions, please do not hesitate to contact Houston DWI lawyer Herman Martinez of The Martinez Law Firm. This firm can provide you with answers to your questions and can explain the options for defense against your DWI penalties. To learn more, call in today and receive a free case evaluation.

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