Will You Go to Jail for DWI in Texas?

Driving while intoxicated can result in serious legal consequences. In fact, Texas has a mandatory minimum jail sentence for DWI convictions. Law enforcement can arrest you for DWI if you have a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher during a traffic stop.

If you face these charges, understand whether you may serve jail time if convicted for DWI.

Mandatory minimums

Texas has established a mandatory minimum of 72 hours in jail for the first DWI offense. You could receive up to 12 months in jail for first-time charges involving BAC higher than 0.15%.

The mandatory minimum increases to 30 days for a second DWI conviction in five years. A third DWI in five years carries at least two and up to 10 years in prison.

Extenuating circumstances

In addition to the mandatory minimums, you can receive additional jail time in Texas if your DWI case involves:

  • Bodily injury to another person, which carries two to 10 years in prison as a third-degree felony
  • Wrongful death to another person, which carries two to 20 years in prison as a second-degree felony
  • A passenger younger than 15 at the time of the arrest, which can result in an additional 180 days to two years in jail for child endangerment

If you have no more than one prior DWI arrest in Texas and no extenuating circumstances, the court may downgrade your DWI to a wet reckless. Generally, this misdemeanor conviction does not require jail time. The state also offers diversion programs such as drug court if your criminal charges result from diagnosed substance use disorder.

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