Facing a DWI charge is scary - especially if it is your first one. You may be wondering what your friends and family will think, how it will impact your job, and what legal consequences you may be facing. You may be wondering what you should do next.
Penalties for a first-time DWI conviction
Texas authorities take driving while intoxicated very seriously, even if you have nothing else on your record. If you are convicted of DWI for the first time, you will face the following penalties:
- A minimum of three days, but as many as 180 days, in jail
- One year loss of your driver's license
- Up to $2,000 in fines
- Annual payments of $1,000 or $2,000 in order to keep your license
If you have prior convictions or an aggravating factor - like having a child in the car at the time of your arrest - the penalties will be harsher.
Other consequences of DWI
While the legal consequences of a first-time drunk driving conviction are severe in themselves, there are consequences that can reach beyond your legal standing. A DWI conviction may not be taken kindly by some employers - especially if your job requires you to drive. If you are in school or applying to school, a DWI on your record can limit your options and in some cases render you ineligible for financial aid. A criminal record can also impact your housing options if you rent.
What to do if you have been charged with DWI
When charged with a DWI, the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the harmful consequences is to talk to a criminal defense lawyer. An experienced attorney can help you determine what approach to take when seeking to minimize or eliminate the charges against you. Whether by challenging the accuracy of your breath or blood test or seeking to prove that the initial traffic stop was unlawful, an attorney can stand up for your rights and help protect your future and your freedom.