Josh Harper | December 22, 2021 | DUI
If you are arrested for a first offense DWI in Texas, you need to realize the severity of your situation. You may face fines, probation or jail time, license suspension, and other consequences for a first offense DWI.
You should call a DWI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest to discuss how to minimize the consequences of a DWI.
Consequences of a First Offense Texas DWI
You could face any of the following consequences after your first DWI arrest:
- You will need to pay fines and court costs, which may cost $2,000 or more.
- Your driver’s license may be suspended.
- You might end up going to jail for anywhere between a few days to six months.
Many people prefer to avoid time in jail if possible. You may be able to do this by agreeing to probation after a first offense DWI.
However, probation has its own consequences, such as:
- Monthly probation fees
- Monthly requirement to report to probation
- Paying for and attending DWI education
- Paying for a drug and alcohol evaluation
Because of these consequences, you should take caution before pleading guilty to a first offense DWI. If you plead guilty, you’ll also face even more severe penalties if you ever get charged with another DWI in the future.
Driver’s License Suspension for First DWI
Your driver’s license may be suspended for failing a breath alcohol test or for refusing to take the test. Texas DWI law considers an alcohol concentration over .08 to be a failed test.
After your arrest, you can request an administrative license revocation hearing. Your license can’t be officially suspended at the time of the arrest. However, your license will be suspended if you fail to request this hearing within 15 days after your arrest.
More Serious DWI Charges
If you have a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher, you will potentially face even higher fines and more jail time. Texas DWI laws also list any of the following crimes as felonies:
- You cause serious injury to someone else during a DWI
- Your DWI causes the death of another person
- There is a passenger under 15 years old in your vehicle during your DWI
Even if this is your first DWI charge in Texas, these are all potential felony charges. The penalties can be very severe, so you should contact a criminal defense lawyer right away if you are facing any type of felony DWI charge.
Should You Plead Guilty to a DWI Charge?
Many people plead guilty to a first offense DWI charge. They think this will reduce their penalties and allow them to avoid jail time.
However, the consequences of a DWI are severe. Therefore, there are situations where you should consider fighting your DWI charge. If the prosecution can’t successfully prove its case, you could avoid the fines, probation, jail time, and other penalties involved with a DWI.
You should also consider that a DWI charge will go on your criminal record and could be seen by potential employers, landlords, or anyone else that runs a background check. If you are able to beat your DWI case, you can avoid having it on your record.
When to Fight Your First Offense DWI Charge
Before pleading guilty, you should consult a Texas DWI lawyer to discuss your case. You need to consider several factors, including:
- What the video of your DWI arrest looks like
- What the punishment will be if you plead guilty vs. if you take your case to trial
- Whether a DWI charge on your record could impact your employment opportunities
The typical penalties for a first offense DWI in Texas–even if you accept probation–can be costly and burdensome. If you win your DWI case, you can avoid all of these penalties and avoid having a DWI on your criminal record.
Consult a DWI lawyer to discuss your case and determine the best way to handle your first offense DWI charge.