The pit in your stomach when you see flashing lights in your rearview mirror is just the start of the potential implications of driving while intoxicated arrests in Texas. If you have been charged with DWI, it is important for you to understand the potential penalties that may be handed down should you get convicted or plead guilty.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the extent of the penalties you may face for a DWI charge depends on your prior conviction record and whether there were any aggravating circumstances at the time of your arrest. The factors that could result in punishment enhancement include having a child passenger at the time of your arrest, having an open alcohol container in your vehicle, refusing breath or blood testing.

The punishment for DWI includes a fine. The maximum fine you may face if this is your first drunk driving conviction is $2,000. The maximum amount you may be fined increases to $4,000 for a second offense and $10,000 for a third offense.

In addition to paying a fine, you may also be sentenced to a term of imprisonment if you are convicted of DWI in Texas. A first-time offense carries a sentence of three to 180 days in jail, a second offense may result in a sentence of one month to one year in jail, and you may be sentenced to between two years and 10 years in prison for a third-time conviction.

If you are convicted of drunk driving in Texas, your driving privileges will be suspended. You may lose your license for up to one year for a first-time offense and for up to two years for a second- or third-time conviction. Once your driver’s license is restored, you must pay an annual fee to retain it for three years. You may be required to pay a fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000.

This post is not meant as legal advice and instead should only be considered as general information.