Many people who are arrested for their first driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses in Texas have not faced criminal charges before. It is important for any person arrested for drunk driving to remember that an arrest is not the same as a conviction, and a prosecutor still needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an alleged offender broke the law.
Law enforcement officers need to comply with certain standards and requirements, as deviations or errors in the administration of chemical tests or other aspects of a DWI arrest can lead to evidence becoming inadmissible. When a person is convicted, he or she could face possible jail time, fines, and a driver’s license suspension.
If you were arrested for your first drunk driving offense in Harris County, it is in your best interest to retain legal counsel as soon as possible. The Gonzalez Law Group defends clients arrested for DWI in the greater Harris County area including Pearland, Baytown, Seabrook, La Porte, Pasadena, Galena Park, Friendswood and many others.
Our criminal defense lawyers in Houston can work to identify all mitigating factors applicable to your case and seek to help achieve the most favorable outcome to your case that results in the fewest possible consequences. We can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (832) 530-4070 to set up a free, confidential consultation.
Overview of First-Time DWI in Texas
- First-Time DWI Charges in Texas
- First-Time DWI Penalties in Texas
- Harris County First-Time DWI Resources
First-Time DWI Charges in Texas
Texas Penal Code § 49.04(a) establishes that a person commits a DWI offense if he or she is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. The term intoxicated is defined under Texas Penal Code § 49.01(2) as not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; or having an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
In most cases, a first-time DWI arrest is a Class B misdemeanor. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04(d), a DWI can be classified as a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender has an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more.
First-Time DWI Penalties in Texas
The possible consequences of a conviction for a DWI offense will depend on how the crime has been classified. The statutory maximum sentences that may be imposed are as follows:
- Class B Misdemeanor — Up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000; or
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
A first DWI charge typically involves a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours, but the minimum term of confinement is six days under Texas Penal Code § 49.04(c) when an alleged offender has an open container of alcohol in his or her immediate possession while operating a motor vehicle. Additional punishments that may be ordered for first-time DWI convictions include driver’s licenses being suspended for a minimum of 90 days, annual Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Driver Responsibility Surcharges, and/or requirements to install an ignition interlock device in all automobiles owned or driven by the alleged offender.
Harris County First-Time DWI Resources
DWI Task Force | Harris County Constable, Precinct 8 — Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) selected Precinct 8 to receive its “Outstanding Law Enforcement Agency” award in 2014, an honor “given to agencies who go above and beyond in the area of education, prevention, policy or enforcement and whose efforts are making an impact in reducing alcohol-related death and injury on Texas’ roads.” Use this website to view alcohol-related statistics for the past 10 years. You can also find information about the precinct’s crash team, “hot spots” unit, and investigations.
Harris County Bay Area Annex
16602 Diana Ln.
Houston, Texas 77062
DWI Recidivism Studies for the Harris County Criminal Courts at Law — The Harris County Criminal Courts at Law assessed recidivism rates for defendants convicted of first DWI offenses and had no previous criminal convictions. The studies included measures of recidivism relative to judgment categories (jail vs. probation), age, and time-lapse to second offense. View studies for cases filed each year between 2001 and 2006 as well as a study comparing measures for those years.
Harris County Criminal Justice Center
1201 Franklin St.
Houston, TX 77002
Contact a DWI Defense Lawyer in Houston, TX
Were you arrested for drunk driving for the first time in Southeast Texas? You will want to contact The Gonzalez Law Group as soon as possible.
Our Houston criminal defense attorneys represent alleged offenders throughout Harris County, Friendswood, Pearland, Seabrook, League City, Deer Park, Pasadena, La Porte, Galena Park, Baytown and many others. Call (832) 530-4070 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyers review your case and help you understand all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.