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State Bar of Texas

What Is the DWI/DUI Punishment in Texas?

Jerry W. Tidwell, Jr.

There is a range of DWI punishments in Texas.

DWI punishment Texas
  • 1st Offense: a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by not less than 72 hours or more than 180 days in the county jail, and/or a fine not to exceed $2,000.
  • 2nd Offense: a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by not less than 30 days or more than 365 days in the county jail, and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000
  • 3rd (or more) Offense: a Third Degree Felony, punishable by not less than 2 years or more than 10 years in prison, and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • Community Supervision (probation): In most cases, a person convicted of DWI in Dallas is eligible and will receive Community Supervision, allowing that person to carry on with the significant activities of their life and avoiding incarceration. However, the conditions of Community Supervision can be time-consuming, expensive, and will require some changes in your lifestyle.

DWI Surcharges

In Dallas, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will assess a surcharge on the license of each person who during the preceding 36-months, has been convicted of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

  • 1st DWI Conviction: $1,000 per year for 3 years (total $3,000)
  • 2nd DWI Conviction: $1,500 per year for 3 years (total $4,500)
  • Breath/Blood Alcohol Concentration 0.16 or greater: $2,000 per year for 3 years (total $6,000)

Practical DWI Resolution

There are only two practical ways to resolve a DWI in Dallas.

  1. A person can plead guilty, in which case they will have a final conviction and will face a multitude of penalties to retain their driving privilege.
  2. Or, a person can exercise their constitutional right to a trial and force the State to meet its burden of proving the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Although there are times and circumstances that dictate the State to dismiss a DWI charge, the overwhelming majority of DWI arrests result in formal criminal charges and prosecution. It is only through the trial process that a person accused may be found not guilty. With a conviction resulting in jail time or probation, fines, loss of driving privileges, or assessed surcharges, a person accused of DWI has little to lose by trying their case.

Contact the Tidwell Law Firm Today

If you need the assistance of an experienced divorce lawyer or a criminal defense lawyer, please contact The Tidwell Law Firm. We are dedicated to providing quality legal representation to clients throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex, including Dallas, Collin, Tarrant and Denton counties (Plano, McKinney, Allen, Arlington, Richardson, Carrollton, Grand Prarie, Irving, Southlake, Coppell, etc).

Punishments for a DWI/DUI are serious. Contact us today.

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