In Texas, being convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is extremely serious and can lead to jail time, fines, and the suspension of your license. Because DWIs are stubbornly common, the state has taken a robust approach to enforce its laws related to drinking and operating a motor vehicle.

The nationwide statistics on drunk driving give some insight as to why Texas authorities take DWIs so seriously. Over the course of their lives, roughly 33 percent of Americans will be involved in a drunk driving accident at some point. Those crashes will result in billions of dollars in damages, untold pain and misery, and even death. 

In addition to the above penalties and consequences individuals convicted of a DWI can expect to face, they may also be required to attend court-mandated DWI classes. These classes are offered throughout the state by private companies, colleges, and other organizations. They are administered and approved by several Texas agencies including the Department of Transportation, The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, The Department of Public Safety, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Every class is taught by a certified instructor and attendance is mandatory. Here is what else you need to know about DWI classes in Texas.

Facts About Texas DWI Classes 

If you are 21 years of age or older and are convicted of a DWI (a first offense) the judge may order you to complete a 12-hour DWI intervention class. 

Generally, in the 12-hour class you can expect to learn:

  • Texas laws pertaining to DWIs
  • The effects of alcohol on a person’s ability to operate a motor vehicle
  • The effects of drugs and alcohol on the human body more generally

It is common for classes to be held in three four-hour sessions, and, because the courses are mandatory, attendance at all three sessions is a must in order to successfully complete the course. The cost of the course will depend on where you attend but is often around $100.

Note that in-person attendance is required and online courses are not accepted. The exception to this is that some Zoom courses given by approved course administrators may be accepted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are thinking about taking a course that is offered on Zoom, make sure it meets the state’s requirements.

It is required by law that you complete your course within 180 days as outlined by the judge. Failure to do so could result in a longer suspension of your license and additional fines. You won’t be able to get your license reinstated until you complete the course.

If you are under the age of 21 when you are convicted of a DWI you may also have to take a 12-hour class. This is in addition to the suspension of your license and other penalties as issued by the judge.

Finally, if you face subsequent convictions for DWIs, the court may require you to enroll in a 32-hour DWI repeat offender program. This program is likewise mandatory if so ordered.

What To Do If You Are Charged with a DWI

If you have been charged with a DWI, contact a qualified DWI defense attorney as soon as possible. Not every DWI case is cut and dry and there are many things an attorney can do to help mitigate the damage and make sure the charges against you don’t ruin your life.

A good lawyer will investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest and make sure none of your rights were infringed upon by police. Furthermore, a skilled DWI defense attorney will provide an aggressive, effective defense to your charges and do everything in their power to obtain a favorable outcome.