Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Will I Have to Go to Jail for a DWI?


Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a criminal offense that does carry with it the possibility of jail time. Penalties range in type and degree depending on the nature of the alleged drunk driving offense. If law enforcement recently pulled you over for drinking and driving, you may have questions about jail time.

In the state of Texas, you can be arrested and charged if you tested positive for alcohol, even if you tested below the legal limit of .08 percent. If law enforcement had enough reason to believe that your driving was impaired by your alcohol consumption, then you could face fines, community service, alcohol awareness classes and license suspension. You likely will not be sentenced to any jail time.

Were you charged with first-time DWI? Even if this is your first drunk driving offense, the state reserves the right to require jail time as part of your sentence. According to Texas DWI statutes, first-time DWI offenders can face 72 to 180 days in jail.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), if you have been arrested for DWI previously and are arrested again, the state reserves the right to sentence you to one month minimum and one year maximum in jail. For individuals who are facing their third driving while intoxicated offense in the state of Texas, they can receive to two to ten years in jail.

Although jail time is a possibility for DWI offenders, many do not ever receive a jail sentence – or at least not a lengthy one. One reason for this is plea bargaining. Many individuals facing DWI charges, rather than risk going to trial and losing, accept a plea bargain. In most cases, this means that the DWI offender agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lightened sentence/conviction, which often means no jail time.

Each DWI case is extremely individualized. How to approach these situations varies on a case-by-case basis, which is why your DWI deserves the attention and dedication of a Houston criminal defense attorney at our firm. At Billy Skinner & Associates, we have defended hundreds of cases and know how best to approach your DWI. Call (713) 600-7777 today for a free consultation.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DWI