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What are the penalties for a first-time DWI conviction?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2023 | Criminal Defense

The driving while intoxicated (DWI) statute in Texas prohibits anyone from driving when alcohol or other mind-altering substances have impaired their ability to operate a vehicle safely. The law also establishes a per se limit for the amount of alcohol in someone’s bloodstream. Someone can drive normally and still end up arrested if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over 0.08%.

If someone gets arrested, these are the kinds of legal consequences that they might face for a DWI charge in Texas. It is worth noting that a host of non-legal consequences, including strained social relationships, potential job loss, etc. may also result from a DWI conviction. Because the stakes are so high, it is generally a good idea for anyone who has been charged with a DWI to seek legal guidance as soon as they can.

Fines and court costs

Anyone who goes through the criminal courts in Texas will often have to pay court costs, which can be over $1,000 in some cases. The judge overseeing their case can also assign specific penalties. A fine is likely, and a judge could order someone to pay up to $2,000 after a first DWI charge.


A jail sentence is common after a DWI infraction, and the duration is a reflection of someone’s history and the circumstances at the time of their arrest as interpreted by the judge hearing their case. A first DWI might lead to up to 180 days in state custody. There is typically a minimum sentence of at least three days.

License suspension

Someone accused of impaired driving will likely lose their driving privileges at least temporarily. A judge can suspend someone’s license for up to a full year after a first DWI. The driver will have to pay an annual fee for three years when they get their license back. They can also expect significant increases in their insurance costs when they start driving again.

Other factors, like an especially high BAC at the time of someone’s arrest or the presence of minor children in the vehicle, could potentially increase the penalties that a judge imposes in the event of a conviction. Learning more about the consequences of a Texas impaired driving arrest could help someone decide how to respond most effectively to their pending charges.

For additional information or immediate legal assistance, please contact the experienced attorneys at Ramos & Del Cueto via 210-761-6004 or the contact form below.

Ramos & Del Cueto, can provide experienced and dedicated assistance if you find yourself in need of help. Call 210-761-6004 or use the form below to contact our firm immediately.