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Every arrest that alleges drunk driving in Texas is a serious matter. While every case comes with harsh consequences, it is important to understand how DWI cases differ under Texas law. 

The simple fact is that even a first DWI conviction comes with life-altering penalties. However, aggravating factors in cases can transform a DWI charge from a misdemeanor to a severe felony. As a result, the penalties for DWI in Texas will vary based on your criminal record and the circumstances of the event. The lawyers at the Law Office of Kerrisa Chelkowski are ready to evaluate your specific situation and explain how a conviction could impact your future.

Simple, First DWI Convictions

Most allegations of drunk driving in Texas are a person’s first DWI case. This means that a conviction is likely to result in the minimum penalty. However, this does not mean that these are events to take lightly.

Under Texas Penal Code § 49.04(b), most first DWI convictions are class B misdemeanors. This means that a conviction carries a maximum jail sentence of one year, a fine of up to $2,000, and a loss of driver’s license for at least 90 days. However, DWI cases occupy a special area of the law where a conviction comes with a mandatory 72-hour jail sentence. It is easy to see why drivers will want to avoid this outcome if at all possible.

Aggravating Factors in Texas DWI Cases

While most DWI cases in Texas are simple misdemeanors, a variety of factors may exist in a case that allow a court to impose a more serious penalty after a conviction. Perhaps the most common is when a person has a previous DWI conviction on their criminal record.

A second offense comes with enhanced penalties across the board. Here, the court must order a person to spend at least one month in jail and pay a fine of up to $4,000. The maximum license suspension period also extends to two years.

If it is a person’s third offense, the prison sentence must be at least two years and the maximum term may be as long as ten years. This also means that the case is now a felony. Felony convictions will have a permanent impact on a person’s life, even after release from prison.

In addition, certain circumstances can also lead to more severe penalties, even if this is a person’s first DWI case in Texas. Examples include:

  • Severe intoxication
  • Incidents that lead to another’s injuries or death
  • Having a child in the vehicle at the time of the arrest

Understanding the potential penalties for a DWI case in Texas is a key part of determining a possible defense strategy.

Speak with the Legal Team at the Law Office of Kerrisa Chelkowski Today for Help with Your DWI Case

All accusations involving alleged drunk driving in Texas demand your full attention. Even if this is the first time you have ever experienced an arrest, a conviction will create a criminal record, force you to spend time in jail, cost you thousands of dollars, and comes with a mandatory license suspension.

The team at the Law Office of Kerrisa Chelkowski is ready to fight for you. They can explain the possible penalties involved in your Texas DWI case and why they apply to your specific situation. They are then ready to develop a defense that aims to help you avoid these punishments. Contact them today to discuss your options.