Picture this: You're at a party, having a drink or two with friends. The night winds down, and you’re thinking about driving home. After all, you’re barely buzzed and it’s not that far…
Before you make that decision, let's shed some light on the potential consequences. Not only could you put your life and the lives of others at risk by driving while intoxicated, but you could also run into real legal trouble.
Texas takes driving while intoxicated seriously, and the fallout can be life-changing. Understanding the penalties for DWI offenses in Texas can help you make the responsible choice.
Texas DWI Penalties for Drivers 21 and Older
If you're over 21 and facing your first DWI charge, brace yourself for the potential impact on your wallet and freedom. You could face fines of up to $2,000, a license suspension lasting up to one year, and the unsettling possibility of spending time behind bars. If you’re convicted of DWI, you can face up to 180 days of jail time, with a mandatory minimum of three days.
A conviction for a second offense will bring a fine of up to $4,000, loss of your driver’s license for up to two years, and anywhere from one month to one year in jail. And if you’re convicted of a third DWI, you’re looking at a $10,000 fine, the loss of your driver’s license for up to two years, and two to 10 years in prison.
At the time of sentencing, Texas also adds additional fines of $3,000 for the first offense, $4,500 for the second offense, and $6,000 for the third offense.
Texas DWI Penalties for Drivers Aged 17 to 21
When you're under 21, you can be charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA by a Minor). Texas penalties for minors driving under the influence are quite strict. The first time you’re convicted of drinking and driving, you’ll likely face a fine of up to $500 and a license suspension of up to 60 days. In addition, you may need to take a mandatory alcohol-awareness class and be required to complete 20 to 40 hours of community service.
Driver’s license suspensions increase to 120 days for the second offense and 180 days for the third. In addition, if your BAC is above 0.08%, you can be charged as an adult and face the “Over 21” penalties previously discussed.
Texas DUIA Penalties for Drivers Under 17
Drivers under the age of 17 can also be charged with DUIA by a Minor. For a first offense, you’re looking at a fine of up to $500 and a suspension of your driver’s license for 60 to 180 days. In addition, you may be ordered to complete 20 to 40 hours of community service and attend an Alcohol Awareness Course. Your parents may be required to take a course as well.
The license suspension increases to 120 days to two years for the second offense and 180 days to two years for the third offense.
Make Informed Choices Behind the Wheel with Texas Driver’s Ed
Being a responsible driver means making informed choices every time you get behind the wheel. A driver's education course provides you with the knowledge and skills to understand the consequences of DWI and make wise decisions to protect yourself and others on the road.
DriversEd.com’s online Texas driver’s education courses are a simple, convenient way to prepare to get your driver’s license. Start exploring your options today.