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McKinley Melancon Jan. 15, 2014

Driving While Intoxicated is a serious offense. In Texas, a first DWI conviction is a Class B misdemeanor, with a jail sentence between 72 hours and six months and a fine of $2,000.00. Community service can also be ordered between 24 hours and 100 hours for a first offense with a suspended driving license up to one year. A second DWI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable with a 30 day to one-year confinement and a $4,000.00 fine. For a second offense, community service cannot exceed 200 hours and driving privileges suspended for up to two years. A third DWI conviction indicates a serious alcohol problem, is a third degree felony, punishable between 2 years to 10 years jail sentence and a fine not to exceed $10,000.00. Community service can be ordered up to 600 hours for a third offense. A person convicted may also have their driving privileges suspended up to two years. Driving while intoxicated with a child under the age of 15 is a state jail felony.

A first-time DWI results in a $1,000 surcharge, paid annually for three years. A second-time DWI results in a $1,500 surcharge, paid annually for three years. The charges are cumulative. For example, a driver could pay $1,000 as a result of their first DWI and an additional $1,500 for their second DWI, paying a total of $2,500 annually.

You have fifteen days after you are arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in which to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (ALR) from the Texas DPS to attempt to preserve your driving privileges. If you fail to request the hearing in fifteen days, the suspension will automatically go into effect on the 40th day after notice was served.

This could be your first encounter with the legal system that could have long-term consequences. The experience can be frightening and confusing as well as the social stigma and the effect it may have on your career. Although attorney’s fees can be expensive, a DWI conviction will cost you a lot of money and will be on your permanent record forever!