DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)

A DWI charge is a very serious offense that could cripple an individual financially, socially, and psychologically. Ranging from a Class B Misdemeanor to a Felony, a DWI conviction has serious repercussions. Understanding the consequences, your rights and charge details are the first steps in preventing DWIs from affecting more lives. 

What is a DWI?

According to Sec. 49.04. Of Texas Penal Code:

a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.

(c)  If it is shown that at the time of the offense, the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.

(d)  If it is shown that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

What are the possible consequences?

First Offense:

  • Class B misdemeanor.
  • Jail time between three days and no more than six months.
  • Fines cannot exceed $2,000.
  • Between 24-100 hours of court ordered community service is mandatory.
  • On the first offense, one must submit a Drug/Alcohol evaluation, complete an approved DWI Education class within 180 days, and attend and complete a Victim Impact Panel.

What if it is not my first DWI Offense?

Second Offense:

  • Class A Misdemeanor.
  • Jail time is between 72 hours and no more than a year
  • Fines cannot exceed $4,000
  • Between 80-200 hours of court ordered community service is mandatory.
  • Deep Lung Air Devices, a device that detects alcohol before starting a car, is required for those on probation.
  • A second offense warrants a driving license suspension from 180 days to two years.

Third DWI offense (or more):

  • This is a Third Degree Felony in Texas.
  • A third offense warrants confinement in state prison/penitentiary for a term between two and ten years.
  • Fines cannot exceed $10,000.
  • Between 160-600 hours of court ordered community service is mandatory.
  • Court ordered rehabilitation program while incarcerated, as well as while on probation for a maximum of 10 years is mandatory.

What is the difference between a Misdemeanor and a Felony?

Misdemeanor – This offense is typically considered non-violent. If the defendant is found guilty, he/she may face potential jail time, but never more than a year. Fines can grow up to $4,000. DWI is typically considered a misdemeanor on the First and Second Offense. Though more lenient than a felony, a misdemeanor charge has extreme financial effects and jail time consequences.

See our Misdemeanor Crimes page for more information.

Felony – The most serious category of offenses under Texas Criminal Law. These crimes are typically considered violent and destructive to society. If the defendant is found guilty, he/she will face at least two or more years in prison as well as pay fines as high as $10,000. For a DWI, the third offense is typically tried as a felony in the State of Texas.

See our Felony Crimes page for more information.

Can I get it expunged from my record?

According to Texas law, you cannot expunge a DWI from your record. However, new legislation has given a “Second Chance” to seal DWI convictions from your record.

See our Sealing your DWI Conviction page for more information.

What can Gary Tabakman do to defend me?

Gary Tabakman is an award-winning lawyer with substantial experience fighting DWI cases, who will work diligently to benefit his client. Mr. Tabakman understands your needs and will fight to give you the best possible defense.