DWI 1st Offense in Texas

A first-time DWI charge in Texas is a Class B Misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $3,000.00, and the maximum jail sentence is 6 months. A conviction for this offense is permanent and results in a driver’s license suspension. Learn more.

DWI charges can be enhanced by certain factors. These enhancements result in harsher penalties, including longer terms of incarceration, thousands of dollars in fines, and the loss of basic constitutional rights. 

Consequences for DWI First Offense

  • DWI with a BAC of .15 or higher is a Class A Misdemeanor. The maximum fine is $6,000.00, and the maximum jail sentence is 12 months. A conviction for this offense is permanent and results in a driver’s license suspension.
  • DWI with an Open Container is a Class A or B misdemeanor, depending on the BAC, falling into the same punishment ranges as set forth above. However, a person convicted of this offense faces a minimum of 6 days in jail because of the Open Container enhancement. Learn more. 
  • DWI with a Child Passenger is a State Jail Felony. The maximum fine is $10,000.00, and the maximum period of confinement is 24 months in a State Jail Facility. A conviction for this offense is permanent and results in a driver license suspension as well as other serious, collateral consequences associated with being a convicted felon. Learn more.

Can a DWI be Dismissed in Texas?

Yes. DWI cases are dismissed every day in courtrooms across Texas. If you are facing a DWI in San Antonio, even as a first offense, the stakes are high. The State is not going to “take it easy” just because it’s your first offense. That’s why it is critical to fight back, assert your constitutional rights, and do everything possible to avoid a final conviction.

  • Can a DWI be dismissed for a bad traffic stop? Police officers are often wrong about the law. If a judge determines the underlying reason for a traffic stop was erroneous, then everything following the stop will be excluded. Without additional aggravating factors, a bad traffic stop results in a DWI dismissal.
  • Can a DWI be dismissed for lack of probable cause? All DWI cases will be dismissed if a judge finds the arresting officer lacked probable cause. Officers are trained to look for signs of impairment during traffic stops. Absent signs of impairment or intoxication, an arrest will be invalidated, and the DWI dismissed.

Can a DWI in Texas be Reduced?

Yes. An enhanced DWI offense may be reduced. As outlined above, a first-time DWI charge may be elevated to a Class A Misdemeanor or, in some circumstances, a State Jail Felony. The State has the power to “waive” the enhancement, and proceed on a Class B Misdemeanor DWI. 

  • Can a DWI be reduced to Obstruction of a Highway or Reckless Driving? Prior to September 1, 2019, a person charged with DWI in Texas was not eligible to apply for Deferred Adjudication. As a work-around, many prosecutorial offices would, in certain circumstances, allow defendants to plead to a different offense like Obstruction of a Highway or Reckless Driving. This would allow a judge to grant the defendant’s application for Deferred Adjudication and avoid a final conviction.With the passage of Texas House Bill 3582, first-time DWI offenders are now eligible to apply for Deferred Adjudication. This has largely ended the practice of allowing defendants to plead to other charges like Obstruction of a Highway or Reckless Driving.

What Happens with First DWI in Texas?

After being arrested for DWI, defendants see a magistrate judge. The magistrate judge sets a bond amount and decides whether there will be additional conditions of release. For DWI cases, additional bond conditions often consist of drug testing, ignition interlock, or SCRAM devices.

  • How much is bail for a DWI in Texas? For a first-time DWI offense, the bond amount is typically set between $1,500.00 – $10,000.00. Defendants have the option of paying a Cash Bond or working with a bail bond company or an attorney to post a Surety Bond. Additionally, defendants that qualify may apply for a Personal Recognizance (PR) bond. Learn more.
  • Is jail time mandatory for First-Time DWI in Texas? No. Jail time is not required for DWI first offense unless it has been enhanced. Learn more about Texas DWI Penalties.
  • Can you go to jail for a first DWI in Texas? Yes. People are sentenced to jail every day in courtrooms across Texas for DWI. The likelihood of being sentenced to jail for DWI is dependent on the facts of the case, as well as criminal history, driving history, and the defense strategy.
  • How long is probation for a First-Time DWI in Texas? DWI probation can last up to 24 months in Texas. Learn more.
  • Do I need a lawyer for DWI in Texas? Yes. Texas has some of the harshest penalties in the nation for DWI and other intoxication offenses. If you have been charged with DWI it is critical to hire an attorney. Your choice in representation can make the difference between a temporary inconvenience and a lifelong criminal conviction.

How Long Does DWI Stay on Your Record?

Forever. In Texas, arrest and disposition records are never automatically removed. There are two options to “clean up” a criminal record in Texas. 

  • Expunctions delete DWI charges DWI and other criminal charges may be eligible to be expunged (deleted) if the charge(s) did not result in a final conviction. Learn more.
  • Petition for nondisclosure seals a DWI The Texas Second Chance Law went into effect in 2017. It allows certain individuals with DWI convictions to seal the record of the arrest and conviction. The law is retroactive, meaning it applies to all DWI cases, even very old ones. Learn more.

Trey Porter Named Best DWI Lawyer in San Antonio

Mr. Porter has been voted by his peers as one of San Antonio’s Best Lawyers every year since 2015, with specific recognition in the fields of Criminal Defense and DWI Defense. Mr. Porter is also recognized by the National Trial Lawyers Association as a Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer, and holds a 10.0 Superb rating from AVVO, where attorneys are rated based on skillful litigation, client satisfaction, peer endorsements, and positive results. Learn more.

DWI 1st Offense in Texas

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    Successful Cases

    CHARGES DISMISSED

    DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15

    Driving facts involved failing to maintain a single lane and speeding. Client refused breath test and forced law enforcement to obtain search warrant for blood. Blood test result was not used after challenge from Defense, and State waived and abandoned charge.

    CHARGES DISMISSED

    DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

    Client was a college student, worried about the collateral consequences of an alcohol offense. After negotiation and review of the traffic stop, the case was dismissed. Client received no criminal conviction. The charge was later expunged and deleted from client’s record.

    CHARGES DISMISSED

    DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .15+

    Client was involved in minor accident. Client was at fault in accident. A young executive, client was concerned that a criminal conviction for DWI would result in termination. After review of the traffic stop, it was clear the officer lacked probable cause for arrest. State eventually dismissed DWI charge. Client received no criminal conviction.

    CHARGES DISMISSED

    DWI 2nd

    Client, a military veteran, was facing up to one year in jail. State could not prove intoxication by alcohol, and was prepared to proceed on loss of use by marijuana. After challenging the State to prove that marijuana was ingested at or near time of driving, and that marijuana impaired client’s driving, the State dismissed the case on the day of trial.

    CHARGES DISMISSED

    DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

    Driving facts involved a false claim by police that taillight was out. After challenging the reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop, the State was forced to dismiss the case when video did not match police report. Client has since expunged arrest, and has no criminal record.

    CHARGES DISMISSED

    DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

    Client is a public school teacher and faced immediate termination upon conviction. The facts of the case were bad. State was unwilling to budge in negotiation, and matter was set for trial – the last shot at avoiding a conviction and preserving client’s livelihood. State was forced to dismiss on day of trial. Client has no criminal record, and has since expunged the DWI arrest.

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