What Are the Legal Penalties For Drunk Driving?

penalties for drunk driving

You made a mistake and decided to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks.

After being pulled over and charged, you might be wondering, “what are the penalties for drunk driving?”

A few factors go into your punishment, ranging from the severity of your drunkness to if this is your first offense.

If you’re worried about the consequences of your actions, or just want more information on the penalties of drunk driving, read on.

First Offense

You left the bar after having a few beers, felt perfectly fine, but forgot to use your blinker. The police officer smells your breath or hears you slur your words and decides to breathalyze you.

Let’s assume this is your first time getting pulled over for drinking and driving.

No matter what, the highest possible penalties for drunk driving on the first offense in Texas are 180 days of jail time and $2,000 in fines. You could have your license suspended for a range of 90 days to a full year.

The minimum amount of jail time, however, is three days.

Since Texas has an implied consent law, if you refuse to take a test, your license will be suspended for 180 days.

Second Offense

Texas doesn’t have a “lookback” period, meaning if you get a DUI when you’re 22, it still counts as your first offense when you’re 62.

If you’re pulled over for your second time, the penalties increase across the board.

Your jail time could range from 30 days to a full year, and your fines can be up to $4,000 dollars. Your license could be suspended anywhere from 180 days to two years.

In addition, your car could have an ignition interlocking device placed in it, meaning that if you have any alcohol on your breath, the car won’t start.

If you refuse to take a test, your license will be suspended for two years.

Third Offense

You’ve heard the saying: three strikes, and you’re out.

In Texas, if you’re pulled over and charged with a DUI for the third time, not only could your car be confiscated, you could also be looking at two years of jail time.

Your fines could be up to $10,000, the installation of an ignition interlocking device is possible, and your license will be suspended 180 days to two years.

Refusal to take a test will result in a license suspension of two years.

Getting Professional Help to Deal with the Penalties For Drunk Driving

Hiring an attorney can go great lengths in helping you after being charged with a DUI.

From legal headaches to paperwork, to navigating the legal system, there’s plenty that you could use assistance on.

The Houston-based team of Vinas & Graham, PLLC. is here to help, be it first, second, or third offense.

Contact us today to get started.