Texas’s fines for first-offender DWI incidents are among the nation’s highest, according to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle.
The fine for a first-time driving under the influence charge in the state of Texas can run the offender $2,000 in fines. Florida, Pennsylvania, and Oregon all have state minimums for DUI fines at $2,000, according to the analysis. Kentucky, Alabama, Illinois, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Washington all have higher fines for first-time DUI offenders, ranging from $2,100 up to $5,000, according to the report.
Where is the lowest fine for DUI in the country? In North Carolina, a first-time DUI only leads to a fine of $200. Virginia ($250) and Wisconsin ($300) round out the top three states for lowest DUI fines in the country. See the whole list here.
DWI Penalties & Fines in Texas
Driving while under the influence, sometimes called DUI, can bring serious criminal penalties in Texas.
For a first-time offense in the state of Texas, the defendant faces a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a $2,000 fine, a jail sentence of anywhere from three days to six months, and suspension of his or her driver’s license for 90 days up to one year.
Second or third offenses bring much steeper penalties and can spell disaster for anyone convicted.
In most cases, first-time offenders do not get jail time. Most of the time, the court hands down a probationary sentence, wherein the defendant must adhere to a certain number of strict rules. If they are broken, the defendant can be put in jail. In Harris County, Texas, a probationary period is referred to as Community Supervision. Probationary periods last anywhere from six months to two years.
The terms of probation can be changed by the judge at anytime, and if they are not followed, the judge can put the defendant in jail.
Common probationary terms in first-time DWI cases ask the following:
- Do not violate the law;
- Follow rules set forth by probation officer and report to meetings with the probation officer when required;
- Meet all financial penalties imposed by the court;
- Perform community service hours — many times it’s set at 80 hours in total;
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages or use illegal drugs or non-prescription medication;
- Complete drug and alcohol education classes; and
- Undergo an evaluation to determine whether you need rehabilitative treatment for drug or alcohol use.
If you’ve been charged with a first-time DWI offense, contact a lawyer today
If you’re facing your first DWI offense, you should contact a legal professional immediately. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates have years of experience defending clients facing these charges and can help mount the best defense possible. They have hundreds of these types of cases under their belts.
Tad Nelson, founder of the firm, has more than 25 years’ experience, is a certified ACS-CHAL Lawyer/Scientist, and is an active member of the National College for DUI Defense. In short, he has the legal, scientific and experiential background you need to give you a solid defense. Contact our Houston based DWI defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today.