Is Jail Time Mandatory for a First DWI?

The state of Texas considers people too intoxicated to drive when their blood alcohol level reaches 0.08%. One of the potential consequences of a first-time driving while intoxicated conviction is jail time.

Does everyone who receives a first DWI conviction in Texas go to jail?

Penalties for a first DWI conviction

If you receive a conviction for a DWI charge and you have no prior offenses, you face three penalities:

  • Maximum $2,000 fine
  • Three-day mandatory jail sentence plus up to 180 total days in jail
  • Loss of driver’s license for as much as one year

While the law calls for a mandatory three-day jail sentence, you could receive probation or community service instead. However, there are also circumstances where you could face more severe penalties.

Exceptions to normal first DWI penalties

You may face more severe penalties for a first-time DWI conviction if your blood alcohol level is .15 or higher, you were driving with a passenger who is less than 15 years old or you seriously injured or killed another person while driving under the influence.

The additional penalties for a conviction under any of these circumstances could increase your potential fine to a maximum of $4,000 to $10,000 and your jail time to as much as one to 20 years. You may also have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

As you can see, even a first-time DWI conviction can have serious consequences. If you are facing DWI charges, it is important to mount the best possible defense to avoid or reduce the severity of these consequences.

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