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Can you go to jail for a DWI in Texas?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Driving while intoxicated is a serious offense in the state of Texas. The state has stringent laws to discourage drunk driving and to ensure public safety. One of the primary concerns for individuals charged with a DWI is whether they might face jail time.

The possibility of incarceration for a DWI in Texas largely depends on the specifics of the incident, including the driver’s previous history, the level of intoxication and whether any damage or injury resulted from the driving.

First-time offenders

In Texas, a first-time DWI offense can result in incarceration. A conviction may lead to a jail sentence of 3 to 180 days, even if it is your first offense.

Repeat offenses

The state treats repeat DWI offenders even more severely. A second DWI offense may lead to a jail sentence of 30 days to one year. A third offense can result in a two- to ten-year prison term.

DWI with damages or injuries

If the DWI incident involves property damage, injury or loss of life, the consequences grow more severe. A DWI incident leading to an accident causing serious bodily injury, termed as intoxication assault, can carry a prison sentence of two to ten years. A DWI resulting in a fatality, or intoxication manslaughter, can lead to a prison term between two and twenty years.

DWI with a child passenger

When a driver charged with a DWI has a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle, Texas law views this as a state jail felony. Conviction can result in a state jail sentence of 180 days to two years.

Factors influencing jail time

Several other factors might affect the decision on jail time for a DWI offense. These include the driver’s level of intoxication at the time of the arrest, any history of substance abuse and the individual’s compliance with other laws.

Texas law treats DWI offenses seriously and has provisions for jail sentences even for first-time offenders. If charged with a DWI, individuals should seek appropriate guidance to understand their rights and potential consequences.