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When can a DWI conviction lead to prison time?

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Being arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Texas can happen to almost anyone. This is a major difference between people who are arrested for theft or violent crimes and someone who might have had an alcoholic beverage and gotten behind the wheel only to be stopped by law enforcement and arrested. People in this situation might never have had any experience whatsoever with the law. For them, facing the prospect of arrest and penalties for a conviction is a new and frightening experience. The DWI penalties that go with a conviction can be harsh. It’s important to be aware of them and the potential ways to defend against the charges.

What does the law say about DWI convictions in Texas?

If a person is driving erratically or showing signs of being intoxicated, law enforcement can initiate a stop and investigate. A stop can also be initiated if the driver broke the law in some way. Examples include running a stop sign, having a broken taillight or an illegal lane change. Once the investigation commences, the officer will look for signs that the driver is under the influence such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol or even an open container in the vehicle. There might be field sobriety tests and then a test to determine the blood alcohol concentration. If the person is found to have a BAC of 0.08% or higher, they will face a DWI charge.

The number of DWI offenses a person has will impact the possibility of jail time. If it is a first offense, a conviction can reach up to six months in jail with the requirement of a minimum of three days. For a second offense, there can be a month in jail or up to a year. If it is a third offense, there can be two years to 10 years in prison. When the driver has a child passenger under age 15 in the vehicle, it is child endangerment and can result in jail for up to two years.

Avoiding incarceration for DWI required a vigorous defense

DWI charges can happen regardless of age, job, education and position in the community. A person who owns a business can be charged just as easily as a college student. The consequences, however, are in place for everyone and can lead to a litany of short and long-term problems. Getting beyond the financial ramifications, the loss of driving privileges and disfavor in the community is hard enough, but jail time can change a person’s entire life. First, it is vital to understand the penalties. Next, it is wise to assess the case itself and look for potential flaws that might help with a reduction in charges or an acquittal. Having experienced, professional and caring guidance from the start can look at the charges and try to find a solution to avoid jail.