Will I Go to Jail for a First-Time DWI Offense?

It’s possible. The State of Texas doesn’t take throwing people in jail as a light matter, and DWI is usually a Class B misdemeanor. Many judges in Houston serving on the bench in Harris County will sentence a defendant to community supervision for a first offense, which typically requires drug counseling and other conditions. Although a Class B misdemeanor conviction could result in up to 180 days in jail, many of our clients can avoid this punishment for a first offense.

Not all first-time offenders are the same, however. If you hurt someone or have a child in the vehicle with you while drunk driving, then you can definitely see the inside of a jail. The same is true if your charges are aggravated in other ways, too.

Houston DWI lawyer Tad A. Nelson does everything possible to obtain a favorable result for his clients, including keeping them out of jail. Still, felony DWI charges are hard to defend, so contact him today.

DWI With Child Passenger

If you have a child under age 15 in the vehicle with you, then you can face felony charges. This is a state jail felony, with a maximum $10,000 fine and up to 2 years in prison. In our experience, time behind bars is a real possibility.

We should also say that if you are in the middle of a divorce, then this charge will almost certainly be used against you in a child custody fight. So there are multiple repercussions to deal with.

Intoxication Assault

Causing an accident while under the influence is called intoxication assault. It is a third-degree felony in Texas, which carries a mandatory 30 days in jail. You will get 30 days even if this is your first DWI offense. The criminal code also calls for 2-10 years in prison as possible punishment.

Intoxication assault happens if you caused an accident because you were intoxicated and someone suffers serious injuries in the crash. For example, strike a car and give the passenger a fracture and you are facing a minimum month in jail.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony criminal offense. If the person you injure in a DWI crash dies, you’ll face this charge. The offense has a mandatory minimum sentence of 120 days in prison—roughly 4 months. However, it is likely you will be imprisoned longer. As a second-degree felony, the maximum punishment is 20 years in prison.

How to Stay Out of Jail

Man In Jail - First Time DWI Offender

Unless there is a mandatory minimum, judges have discretion with sentencing. Hiring an experienced Houston DWI attorney like Tad Nelson is the best first step to take.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer will know what arguments work—and which ones don’t. For example, we might advise that you immediately enter substance abuse treatment to show you are getting on top of a problem. We can also discuss when it makes sense to fight the charge and profess your innocence.

Facing DWI Charges in Houston?

Don’t Hesitate to Call Our Houston DWI Attorneys Today

Tad Nelson can make a strong argument to a judge that you don’t deserve any time in jail. Please contact our office today so we can start our work of defending you against these charges.