TEXAS DWI LAWS

Did you know Sullo & Sullo Attorneys have MORE NOT GUILTY JURY VERDICTS at Houston Municipal Court than any other Law Firm (2009-2014, 2017, 2018)?

The Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI attorneys fight Texas DWI and Texas DUI charges. We can help you secure the best outcome possible following your DWI or DUI charges. A Harris County arrest for DWI in Texas can result in a number of negative outcomes which can last for a considerable length of time.  Texas DWI driving laws state that driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense with serious legal consequences, including:

  • For a first-offense DWI conviction with a BAC of .15 percent or less, you could face fines as large as $2,000, a jail sentence from 3 days to 180 days, and a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to 365 days. In this situation, you will face a Class B misdemeanor.
  • For a first-offense DWI conviction with a BAC of more than .15 percent, the fines faced can increase to $4,000, potential jail time increases to one year, and your offense will be classified as a Class A misdemeanor.
  • For a first-offense DWI conviction with a BAC of 0.08 percent to .14 percent, you are allowed to apply for a “non-disclosure” two years after the probation ends, however an ignition interlock device must be installed on your vehicle for a minimum of six months. The non-disclosure will restrict who is allowed to see your criminal record. A Sullo & Sullo attorney can give you more information regarding this program.
  • For a second-offense DWI in Texas, you will face a maximum fine of $4,000, jail time from thirty days to one year, and a potential driver’s license suspension ranging from 180 days to two years. A second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • A third DWI in Texas is a third-degree felony, with penalties including a fine as large as $10,000, from two to ten years behind bars, and a driver’s license suspension which ranges from 180 days to two years. A felony conviction will prohibit you from voting or possessing a firearm after you have served your prison sentence, paid your fines and dealt with your driver’s license suspension.
  • For a first, second or third DWI in Texas, having an open container in the vehicle increases the minimum jail penalty to six days.
  • A third or subsequent DWI in Texas with two prior state prison sentences will be punished as an enhanced felony, resulting in up to $10,000 in fines, 25 years to life in Texas state prison, and the loss of your driver’s license for up to two years. Boating while intoxicated in the state as a third or subsequent offense with two prior state prison sentences carries the same harsh penalties.
  • If you are charged with Intoxication Assault, meaning you were involved in an accident while you were impaired and another person suffered serious bodily injury as a result, you could be sentenced to a minimum of two years and a maximum of ten years in state prison. A probated sentence would result in a 30-day minimum jail sentence. You would also be facing fines as large as $10,000. This offense is a third-degree felony, so all felony conviction consequences would apply as well.  
  • If you are judged to have driven the vehicle in such a way that it became a deadly weapon, you could be facing additional penalties which prohibit good time credit in prison to be considered for early release until at least half of your prison sentence has been served.
  • If a death occurred while you were driving while impaired, you could be sentenced to a maximum fine of $10,000 and could face prison time from two years to twenty years. This is a second-degree felony in the state of Texas. If you receive probation, you must still serve a mandatory 120-day jail sentence.
  • If there was a child in the vehicle (under the age of 15 years) when you are arrested for DWI, you could receive a state jail term for a mandatory minimum of 180 days, and a maximum of two years, with a fine of up to $10,000. This is considered a state jail felony offense.

Probation for a DWI in Texas or a DUI in Texas - Almost all DWI conviction penalties will include some level of probation. Probation is a suspension of the jail sentence, a suspension of a fine, or even a suspension of the driver’s license suspension for the offense. As an example, suppose the judge says to you that your sentence for your DWI in Texas will be a $1,500 fine, six months in jail and a driver’s license suspension of one year, but that your jail time, $1,000 of your fine and your license suspension are all “probated.”

This means that while you received a sentence of six months in jail, you do not actually have to serve that time, so long as you do not get in any trouble for a period of six months, that you only have to pay $500 of the fines assessed, and that your driver’s license will be valid, so long as you do not get into any trouble for six months. In essence, the judge is making a “deal” with you—a deal that, so long as you “behave” for a period of six months, the penalties you are facing have been significantly lessened. In exchange for accepting this “deal,” you will be required to do some or all of the following:

  • Report to a probation officer on a monthly basis;
  • Have no further criminal offenses during the term of probation;
  • Pay a monthly supervisory fee to the probation office;
  • Perform a specific number of community service hours;
  • Attend DWI education classes;
  • Abstain from consuming any alcohol during your probation;
  • Pay all court costs and non-probated fines;
  • Submit to a breathalyzer upon request (either by law enforcement or court personnel);
  • Have an alcohol ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle and only drive that vehicle;
  • Remain in your county of residence unless you obtain permission to leave, and
  • Make a donation to Crime Stoppers or Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

It is important to note that your DWI punishment in Houston or Harris County might not be the same as it would in another city in Texas, however the range of punishments will be the same. 

Other Issues Related to DWI Offenses and Penalties in the State of Texas - Remember the following when dealing with a Texas DWI or Texas DUI:

  • While the legal BAC limit is 0.08 percent, you can receive a DWI/DUI conviction even if your BAC was below that limit, if you are judged to have been lacking the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
  • If you are under the age of 21, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy, meaning you may have no detectable amount of alcohol in your system.
  • If you possess a commercial driver’s license, the legal BAC limit is 0.04 percent, rather than 0.08 percent.
  • Engaging in field sobriety tests is not a legal requirement in the state of Texas, however if you refuse field sobriety tests, that refusal could be used against you in court to show you that the reason you refused the field sobriety tests was because you knew you were inebriated. If you do take the field sobriety tests and perform poorly, your Houston DWI lawyers may be able to challenge the results.
  • You can also refuse a breathalyzer test, however, you will be penalized for doing so through the loss of your driver’s license for six months. As with field sobriety tests, your Houston criminal defense lawyers may be able to challenge the results of the breathalyzer test based on a number of different factors.
  • Boating while intoxicated (BWI) first offense in Texas is a class B misdemeanor with the same fines and penalties as a “regular” DWI first offense.

DWI in Texas or DUI in Texas brings many complexities that can be difficult to decipher on your own. Your goal, when facing a DWI in Texas first offense or any subsequent DWI in Texas offenses, will be to avoid Harris County criminal records and Harris County, Texas jail. At Sullo & Sullo, our highly experienced DWI attorneys will negotiate on your behalf with the Harris County District Attorney. We offer Houston criminal lawyer free consultations for DWI in Texas or DUI in Texas. Based on the specific facts of your case, our knowledgeable Houston criminal lawyers can answer all your questions while we staunchly defend your rights and fight for your future.

At Sullo & Sullo, we understand that good people sometimes make mistake,s and we believe you deserve another change when facing a DWI in Texas or a DUI in Texas. We will represent you in Harris County criminal court, negotiating with the Harris County District Attorney on your behalf. Do not attempt to face these charges on your own—the penalties for a conviction are quite severe, and we believe we can affect the outcome of your charges through zealous representation.

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