The consequences of DWI arrests and convictions vary from person to person. In Fort Worth, DWI convictions carry varying sentencing terms and administrative penalties based on the details surrounding the arrest as well as the offender's criminal background.

The repercussions of a DWI in Texas are severe regardless of whether this is your first offense or you have previously been found guilty of a DWI. A DWI record could make it more challenging to accomplish certain things, including finding or keeping a job, getting credit, or finding decent housing. In this blog, we'll look at how bad a DWI is in Texas and the impacts it can have on your life.

What Does a Texas DWI Entail?

In Texas, driving while intoxicated in public is against the law. However, alcohol is not the only substance that can make you intoxicated. There are two separate meanings of intoxicated under the Texas PC 49.01. You only have to be found guilty of either of the following for a jury to find you guilty of DWI:

  • You were unable to use your physical or mental abilities normally because of the presence of alcohol, drugs, certain controlled substances, a harmful drug, a mixture of several substances, or another substance in your body
  • You had an alcohol level in your blood or breath that was over the permitted 0.08 percent level

Put another way; you can receive a conviction for operating a vehicle while inebriated from drugs, alcohol, or a mixture of both. It is possible to be found guilty of DWI even if your blood alcohol concentration was below the permitted limit or you refused to submit to a breath test.

You could be found guilty of DWI if the prosecution can prove that your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was 0.08 or higher or that the substance in your system caused you to drive unsafely.

Consequences of a DWI In Texas

Like other offenses, driving while intoxicated involves the risk of jail term and large fines. However, in addition to criminal consequences, a DWI charge could result in administrative consequences such as the DMV suspending your driving license. Lastly, you should be aware that a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol comes with additional repercussions you do not anticipate.

Criminal Penalties

A conviction for driving while intoxicated in Texas imposes a maximum of several different penalties set forth by law. For repeat offenders, the penalties rise with every previous conviction. Texas law considers the initial two charges as misdemeanors while classifying any future convictions as felonies. The following are the potential penalties for every conviction:

First DWI Offense

The first DWI charge is classified as a Class B misdemeanor. If found guilty, you will incur a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail term of 180 days. If your blood alcohol concentration was.15 or higher while driving, it will be considered a Class A misdemeanor for the first conviction.

Class A misdemeanors carry maximum fines of $4,000 and a jail term of up to one year. Additionally, a first-time offender will incur a $2,000 annual renewal fee for their license for the next three years.

Second DWI Offense

A second violation for driving under the influence is considered a Class A misdemeanor. If found guilty, the maximum penalty is a $4,000 fine and a maximum of a year in jail.

Third DWI offense

Third DWI offenses are classified as third-degree felonies. The maximum penalty for this offense is $10,000. Additionally, a third DWI charge carries a 10-year prison term in the state prison.

Fourth DWI Charge

A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) for the fourth time or subsequently is considered a felony offense. The maximum penalty for this offense is a $20,000 fine and a 10-year prison term.

Even though these maximums represent the worst possible case, your sentencing will typically be less than the maximum. In the end, it is up to your attorney to seek to secure the most favorable sentencing should you be found guilty of a DWI offense.

Administrative Punishment

A DWI charge carries administrative implications along with criminal penalties, which could affect your driving privileges. These include unreasonably high fees and compulsory license suspensions. Additionally, each past DWI conviction on your driving record increases the severity of the administrative penalties, just like it does with criminal penalties.

DWI First Offense

A first-time offender in Texas faces a one-year license suspension. If you have been convicted of driving while intoxicated, you will need to make payments for a DWI license fee that amounts to $2,000 each year for three years to have the privileges restored. This is on top of any other fees and costs associated with your license.

DWI Second Offense

If this is your second DWI offense, you will have your driving license suspended for two years. You'll pay a $2,000 fee every year for 3 years once you're qualified to reinstate your license.

Third DWI offense

A third DWI conviction will result in a license suspension for two years. You will also incur a $2,000 annual fee for 3 years after being reinstated.

Fourth DWI Offense

If this is your fourth or succeeding conviction, you'll lose your driving privileges for an additional two years and be subject to the annual $2,000 fee.

You can get a hardship driving license that will let you drive both to and from your workplace during the suspended period, but it will cost you extra money. For example, you may have to pay for an interlock device installed on your vehicle.

Letting a seasoned DWI lawyer walk you through the procedures will offer you the best possible chance of getting a hardship license, as well as reduce the consequences you face once you are found guilty of a DWI.

Collateral Consequences of Texas DWI

DWI convictions could have a lot of negative impacts or unintended repercussions. Even without the usual penalties like fines, time behind bars, or a suspension of your driving license, this could have a major impact on your day-to-day life. The potential adverse effects of DWI convictions can be mitigated with competent legal representation.


You could lose your job if you get convicted of driving while intoxicated. In some cases, incarceration can cause an individual to be fired due to excessive missed work days. Some employers don't look kindly upon applicants who have received a criminal conviction.

This is particularly true for someone working in a job where their "moral standards" are more closely scrutinized, such as in the public sector, teaching, or another occupation.

When you lose your job, you lose your money, which affects how you can pay your bills, take care of your family and yourself, or enjoy your life. If you have a DWI conviction, you can be disqualified from applying for some positions, or you could be required to undergo special training to get the job. This could significantly limit your choices or ruin a long-established career.

Professional Licenses

A conviction for driving while intoxicated can severely hinder defendants' chances of obtaining or keeping professional licenses. To practice in many professions, you need to have a professional license. These professions include, but aren't  limited to:

  • Certified Nurses
  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Doctors
  • Accountants
  • Lawyers
  • Commercial Drivers
  • Real estate brokers or agents
  • Dentists
  • Government Employees
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Pharmacists
  • Veterinarians

Numerous other professions call for a specific license to be employed in that industry. A previously held license could be revoked for a DWI or suspended after further investigation. In some cases, this could make obtaining a license to practice much more challenging or sometimes impossible.

Effects on Child Custody

Whenever a court is sought to make a custody decision, it will consider the parties asking for custody to assess whether the kid will be protected with that individual. The judge will take into account your criminal record while making its decision. Any DUI convictions fall under this.

Although it could influence the outcome, DWI convictions do not automatically bar you from getting custody. A conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) does not necessarily mean that your petition for custody will be denied, even though the judge considers that.

But when the DWI shows that someone has an addiction problem, it can considerably affect the child custody hearings. This could be the case if the individual is addicted to alcohol or other drugs that provide similar effects.

This is something that the court will carefully consider and emphasize. At the very least, a conviction for driving while intoxicated (DWI) raises the subject of whether or not you have a dependency on alcohol or drugs, and the courts are unwilling to place the responsibility of raising a kid on an addict.

It is crucial to show that you don't have an addiction problem or, if you had one, that you found, got, and successfully finished treatment, to ensure that this has no adverse effects on your custody case. Long-term sobriety and evidence of continued treatment can ease the court's worries.

Security clearances

Most occupations, particularly those in the government, demand a specific security clearance. For security clearances, thorough background checks are necessary, which will reveal and highlight any previous convictions, regardless of whether they were felonies or misdemeanors. The application procedure for a security clearance could become more challenging or perhaps prevent you from being granted one if you have a conviction for driving while intoxicated.

Even with a DWI on your record, you can still be eligible for some security clearances. It primarily relies on the position you are seeking and the specific qualifications for the clearance.

However, a conviction for driving while intoxicated is likely to create further complications for the procedure. You might need to provide details regarding past DWI convictions, show that you've not committed a crime again, or demonstrate that it has been a long time since your last conviction.

In many situations, a knowledgeable DWI attorney can assist you in understanding these qualifications as well as how DWI convictions or pleas would affect your capacity to seek and be awarded the necessary security clearance.

Securing a Loan

A criminal record, such as a DWI, could make it more challenging to secure a loan. A criminal record will raise suspicions when applying for a loan from a payday lender, a bank, or another financial organization. Those in the business of lending money are primarily concerned with finding borrowers who can be relied upon to repay the money.

Anyone with a criminal background is more of a "risky" investment than someone without charges or convictions. It doesn't matter what kind of loan you're looking for; it could make it more difficult for you to obtain money.

After DWI convictions, it could be difficult to obtain even an auto loan. In many cases of auto financing, the car itself serves as collateral. Even though a motorist never again drinks and drives, they will probably be viewed as a high risk for that vehicle if they have a DWI. Most people can't afford to buy cars with cash, so they have to take out loans. This could be harder if you're convicted of DWI.

A mortgage is another type of loan that could be difficult to obtain after a DWI conviction. Mortgages are undoubtedly required when purchasing a home, but they can be challenging to obtain if you have a criminal record. If you do get a mortgage, the interest rate could be higher. Dealing with this could be very challenging.


Individuals who rent would face additional housing hurdles due to their inability to secure a mortgage. Many landlords are unwilling to rent to people with criminal offenses, which can severely limit your options. Subsidized housing could not be accessible to individuals receiving public assistance.


Voting rights are unaffected by a misdemeanor conviction. However, a felony conviction would. People who are convicted of a felony lose their voting rights. They will be able to vote once more once they've served their jail sentence, finished parole or probation, or received a pardon. Even then, individuals must do more than turn up and vote. They will have to re-register to do so.

This loss of your constitutional right could significantly affect you, specifically if you value voting and shaping how your county and country are governed. It's crucial to note that even if you eventually get your voting rights back, they will be gone after a felony conviction.

Firearm Ownership Rights

Individuals found guilty of felonies are prohibited under federal law from possessing or using firearms per the second amendment. This implies that if you're found guilty of a felony DWI, it would be illegal for you to possess and use any firearms you own.

How Long Will a DWI Conviction Last on My Record?

Forever. Texas law prohibits the automatic deletion of disposition and arrest records. However, two alternatives exist for "cleaning up" a criminal record.

  • Expungement

If the allegations against you for DWI or another crime did not lead to a conviction, you could have them expunged.

  • Petition for Nondisclosure

Texas's "Second Chance Law" became operational in 2017. It enables some DWI offenders to seal their record of an arrest and conviction. The statute is retroactive, which means it covers all DWI cases, including those that occurred years ago.

Can A Texas DWI Offense Be Reduced?

Yes, a Texas DWI charge can be reduced. A first-time DWI offense could be raised to a Class A Misdemeanor or, under certain instances, a State Jail Felony. The State may "waive" the enhancements and continue with a Class B Misdemeanor DWI.

Can a Texas DWI Charge be Dismissed?

Yes. Daily dismissals of DWI charges occur in Texas courts. The stakes are significant if you face a DWI charge, even if it's your first violation. Even though it's your first crime, the State won't take it lightly. In the end, the only way to avoid a conviction is to fight the allegations, stand up for your fundamental rights, and take all necessary precautions.

Can a Texas DWI be Dropped Because of Bad Traffic Stops?

Police officers sometimes misunderstand the law. Everything that happened after a traffic stop will be removed if the court finds that the initial grounds for the stop were improper. Bad traffic stops result in DWI dismissals without any additional aggravating circumstances.

Can a DWI Charge be Dropped Due to a Lack of Probable Cause?

If a court determines that the officer in question lacked probable cause, all DWI charges would be dropped. During traffic stops, officers are taught how to check for signs of intoxication. An arrest would be considered invalid, and the DWI charges dropped if there are no indications of intoxication or impairment.

Find an Fort Worth Experienced DWI Lawyer Near Me

If you're facing charges of DWI, it is crucial to note that you don't have to fight your charges alone. A competent DWI defense lawyer can clarify your alternatives and assist you in better grasping the specifics of your case if you're facing a DWI arrest.

At the Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer, we have assisted many clients facing DWI and other intoxication-related charges to achieve favorable outcomes in their cases. Our attorneys are well-versed in Texas DWI provisions and can assist you with solid defense arguments. Call us at 817-470-2128.