This guide is an introduction to punishments for DWI in New Braunfels. Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime in Texas. DWI is punishable by a range of sentencing possibilities. The penalties depend upon whether the State charges the offense as a misdemeanor or felony. The nature of the charges will depend upon the severity of the incident, whether there were previous DWI convictions, or whether additional aggravating factors allow the judge to “enhance” the offender’s sentence after a conviction. Texas law divides misdemeanors and felonies into classes, each with various penalties.
A first-offense DWI is a “Class B Misdemeanor.” A Class B Misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $2,000, a term in jail not to exceed 180 days, or both, with a minimum jail sentence of 72 hours. The minimum sentence increases to six days if there is an open container of alcohol in the vehicle. A defendant is eligible for probation instead of a jail sentence; however, the defendant must complete a driver’s education class and perform community service.
Additionally, there is a mandatory license loss for 90 to 365 days. A judge must make the defendant install an ignition interlock device if the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds 0.15. A driver whose BAC exceeds 0.15 will be guilty of a Class A Misdemeanor, subject to the penalties discussed for Second DWI below.
A conviction for a second DWI carries with it an enhanced penalty. There is no lookback provision in Texas, meaning there is no time limit between convictions. A defendant charged with a second DWI will face pretrial administrative penalties of license loss for one year. If convicted, the defendant will be guilty of a “Class A Misdemeanor.” A Class A Misdemeanor conviction for a second DWI carries a maximum jail sentence of one year and a minimum jail sentence of 30 days. A judge may also impose a fine not to exceed $4,000. A defendant may receive probation and be required to attend a repeat offender’s class at DWI school.
Third or More DWI
A conviction of a third DWI is a third-degree felony. Third-degree felonies are punishable by two to 10 years in prison. A court may impose a fine of $10,000. The Texas Department of Public will also suspend the defendant’s driver’s license for 180 days to two years. The State may also assess pretrial administrative license loss.
Additional Crimes Involving Intoxicated Driving
Intoxicated Manslaughter, Intoxicated Driving with a Child Passenger, and Intoxication Assault are commonly charged in Texas. Intoxication Manslaughter is a Second Degree felony. The penalty is two to 20 years of incarceration in prison, but a defendant may receive probation. Intoxicated Driving with a Child Passenger is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the state jail for not less than 180 days, not to exceed two years. Intoxicated assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison.
The Texas Department of Public Safety can impose administrative and criminal penalties after a conviction. The Department of Public Safety may impose a surcharge between $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years to keep your driver’s license.
Contact me for a free case review if you are charged with Driving While Intoxicated in Comal County or other Central Texas counties such as Hays County, Guadalupe County, Travis County, or Bexar County.