DWI Punishment In Texas
Most DWI punishment as a consequence of convictions result in probation, which means your jail sentence is suspended, you’ll be fined, or your driver’s license will be suspended by the court. Said another way, upon conviction, the judge pronounces a jail sentence punishment, a fine sentence, and a driver’s license suspension, but suspends that jail sentence and places the person on “community supervision” (also known as probation) instead.
Judge Justice says, “Mr. Defendant, your sentence is 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a year’s suspension of your driver’s license.”
DWI Defendant replies, “Holy cow, I can’t believe it, I’m going to jail!”
But all of the sudden the judge says, “However, I’m going to probate this sentence. Your jail is probated for 1 year, $1,500 of your fine is probated, and your driver’s license suspension is also probated.”
In layman’s terms, this means that if the defendant behaves for 1 year, he will:
- NOT have to do the 180 days in jail.
- Pay only $500 of the fine.
- NOT have his driver’s license taken from him.
“Wait,” you say, “what does ‘behave’ mean?”
It means that the judge has offered the defendant a “deal” he can’t refuse. This deal is a contract between the defendant (you) and the court, and the contractual terms are simple: The judge promises not to put you in jail, not to make you pay the entire fine, and not to take away your driver’s license.
In exchange, if you agree to the probation as a result of your DWI punishment, you are agreeing generally to do the following:
- >Report once a month to a probation officer.
- >Not commit any further crimes during the term of probation.
- >Pay a monthly supervisory fee to the probation office (approximately $40).
- >Perform a specified number of hours (approximately 24 to 48) of community service (volunteer work to benefit the community) during the term of your probation.
- >Attend DWI education classes dealing with the effects of alcohol or featuring victims of DWI-related tragedies (VIP Program).
- >Abstain from consuming alcohol for the term of your probation.
- >Pay your non-probated fines and court costs.
- >Submit to a breath test by law enforcement or court personnel upon request.
- >Install an alcohol ignition interlock device on your car, and only drive a car equipped with such as device (not always required).
- >Make a small donation to MADD and/or Crime Stoppers.
- >Remain within the county of your residence unless given permission by the court to leave it.
- >Fulfill any other requirements the court sets for you.
There Are New Penalties For A DWI In Texas Effective September 1, 2019:
JAIL & FINES
The Jail Penalties For A Class B & A Misdemeanors Remain The Same, Ie 72 Hours To 180 Days In Jail For A Class B And 365 Days For A Class A. However, Fines Have Now Increased And Are:
1) Up To $3,000 For First Conviction To Be Paid Within 36 Months;
2) Up To $4,500 For A Second Or Subsequent Conviction Within 36 Months; And,
3) Up To $6,000 For A First Or Subsequent Conviction If There Is A BAC Result Of 0.15. The Statute Says The Critical Time Of The 0.15 Is Not The Time Of Driving, But Rather, The Time Of The Analysis.
The Fines Can Be Waived By The Trial Judge, As Can Court Cost Where The Court Finds That The Defendant Is An Indigent. This Can Be Done By Reviewing Tax Returns, Recent Wage Statements Or Other Goverment Agency Proof.