The jail sentence for drunk driving in Texas can last anywhere from three days to 99 years. This depends on several circumstances, such as:
- Your prior criminal history
- Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time
- Any aggravating circumstances that may apply
How Much Jail Time Will You Do for Drunk Driving in Texas?
Your sentence for DWI will depend on your BAC at the time of arrest and whether have any prior DWI convictions.
If your BAC ranged from 0.08 to 0.149, your potential sentence will be:
First Offense: 3 days to 6 months in jail
Second Offense: 30 days to 1 year in jail
Third Offense: 2 to 10 years in prison
If your BAC was 0.15 or above, you may face years or even a decade longer in jail, depending on your prior offenses.
What Factors Affect the Length of the Jail Sentence for Drunk Driving in Texas?
Aggravating factors can increase the length of time you spend in jail or prison for DWI in Texas.
Drunk Driving with a Child Passenger
This DWI offense qualifies as a state jail offense. If you drove drunk with a passenger under the age of 15, you will face 6 months to 2 years in state jail.
Drunk Driving with an Open Container
Having an open container of alcohol in your car at the time of a DWI arrest will increase the minimum sentence to six days for a first-offense drunk driving charge.
Drunk Driving Accident
If you drove drunk and caused a wreck, you will face the appropriate DWI charge and jail sentence as well as additional charges based on the nature of the crash and the extent of the damage. Prosecutors commonly tack on reckless damage and destruction or criminal mischief charges in situations of this nature. Reckless damage and destruction qualifies as a misdemeanor offense. However, criminal mischief can carry felony charges.
Drunk Driving Accident with Injury
If you drove drunk and caused an injury crash, you will face intoxication assault charges. This third-degree felony includes a prison term of 2 to 10 years. If the victim was a peace officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or another type of first responder injured in the line of duty, you will face second-degree felony charges with a prison sentence of 2 to 20 years.
Drunk Driving Accident with Fatality
If you drove drunk and caused a wreck that resulted in a fatality, you will face intoxication manslaughter charges, a second-degree felony. Upon conviction, you will face 2 to 20 years in prison. However, if the victim was a first responder killed while performing their job, you will face a first-degree felony charge and a prison sentence of 5 years to life.
Can You Get the Jail Sentence Reduced for Drunk Driving in Texas?
If you face drunk driving charges in Texas, you can take steps to potentially reduce the jail sentence that accompanies a DWI conviction:
Negotiate Reduced DWI Charges
If law enforcement violated your constitutional rights or made any errors in your arrest, the prosecutor may have trouble getting a conviction. In that case, they may agree to reduced charges that carry a shorter jail sentence. Likewise, if the technicians or testing lab made any errors in conducting BAC testing, you may have leverage to get your charges and sentence reduced or even dropped.
Rather than impose a jail sentence, the court may agree to probation, known as community supervision in Texas. If you meet the terms of your community supervision agreement, you can cut some or even all of your prison sentence. If you violate your probation, the judge can assess the maximum possible penalty for your drunk driving offense.
Enter a Diversion Program
Some municipalities offer first-time offenders the opportunity to apply for participation in a diversion program. If the judge grants your request for participation and you comply with the terms the court establishes, you could avoid going to jail. If you fail to adhere to the terms, however, you could spend the maximum possible time in jail.
Win Your Case in Court
If you cannot convince the prosecutor or the court to reduce or dismiss your Texas drunk driving charge, you may consider taking your case to trial. If your DWI lawyer can demonstrate your innocence or introduce reasonable doubt, you could avoid going to jail.
What Can a Texas Drunk Driving Lawyer Do for You?
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we help clients fight Texas drunk driving charges. Our primary goals are to protect your legal rights and to help you achieve the best outcome — and shortest jail term — possible in your case.
Contact us at 214-696-9253 to learn more or to schedule a complimentary case evaluation and consultation.