Can I Go to Jail for a DWI Charge in Texas? | What to Know

If you were charged with a DWI in Texas, you may be wondering if you will face jail time. Read on and reach out to our Houston DWI defense attorneys today to learn more. Our legal team is on your side no matter what you are facing.

What is a first-offense DWI charge in Texas?

According to Texas Penal Code § 49.04(a), a person receives a DWI offense if he or she is under the influence while operating a vehicle in a public area. The term intoxicated is specified 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.

The majority of the time, a first-time DWI arrest is a Class B misdemeanor. Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04(d), a DWI can be defined as a Class A misdemeanor if an alleged offender has an alcohol concentration of 0.15 or more.

Can I go to jail for a first-offense DWI charge in Texas?

The consequences of a DWI charge in Texas are usually serious and can include jail time. Keep in mind that a conviction for a DWI offense will rely on how the crime has been categorized. The statutory maximum sentences that may be assessed include the following:

  • 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 offense DWI charge generally 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 driving a motor vehicle. Further 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 provisions to install an ignition interlock device in all automobiles owned or driven by the alleged offender. If you were charged with a DWI, you will need to reach out to our firm today and speak with our skilled Houston criminal defense attorneys.


We understand how challenging various legal matters can be, which is why we have dedicated ourselves to helping clients in Texas through a wide array of legal matters, including personal injury law and criminal defense. If you have sustained a serious injury or are facing criminal charges, contact the Gonzalez Law Group today to learn more about how we can help you through every step of the legal process ahead.