Can you go to jail for a DWI in Texas?

Attorney Trey Porter
Trey Porter

Can you go to jail for a DWI in Texas?

Can you go to jail for a DWI in Texas

Everyone charged with DWI in Texas, even first-time offenders, faces a minimum of 6 months in jail. Texas DWI Penalties are severe. First-time DWI offenders face up to 1 year in jail, a $6,000.00 fine, court costs, a driver license suspension, and a permanent criminal conviction. Aggravating factors increase fine amounts and periods of incarceration. DWI offenders with multiple convictions face up to 10 years in prison. Learn more.

  • How long do you stay in jail for DWI in Texas?People arrested for DWI are typically released in 24 hours or less. The key component to release is a judge setting a bond. This bond amount allows a defendant to post bail, personally or through a bail bond company, to get out of jail. Learn more.
  • How many DUIs in Texas before you go to jail?Only minors under 21 years old can be charged with DUI in Texas, and there is no jail sentence possible as punishment. DUI is a Class C misdemeanor. DWI, conversely, carries up to a 1 year jail sentence for first-time offenders, depending on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Learn more.
  • How likely is jail time for a first DWI in Texas?People charged with DWI go to jail every day in Texas. The likelihood of avoiding a final conviction and a jail sentence depends entirely on the type of defense that is put forward. A weak and unorganized defense can yield a bad result. On the other hand, you can beat a DWI in Texas and avoid some of the nation’s most serious consequences for first-time offenders. Learn more.
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New Texas DWI laws

With the passage of House Bill 3582, the Texas Legislature has made Deferred Adjudication a possibility for first-time DWI offenders. Recipients of Deferred Adjudication are able to avoid incarceration and a final conviction. Once Community Supervision is successfully completed, the DWI charge is dismissed by the court. In many cases, the criminal charge and arrest records may later be sealed through an Order of Nondisclosure. Learn more.

  • Can a first DWI in Texas be dismissed?DWI charges are dismissed every day in courtrooms across Texas. DWI arrests are warrantless arrests. The entire charge is therefore based on the subjective decision for probable by one officer. Police officers make mistakes, and these mistakes can be seized on. If a judge finds the arrest to be lacking probable cause, the State is forced to dismiss the case outright. 
  • What to do if you get a DWI in Texas?Many people charged with DWI have never been charged with a criminal offense. The question of “what happens” after a DWI arrest in Texas in common. The first and most critical thing to do after a DWI arrest in Texas is to hire counsel. Time is of the essence, and hiring the best DWI lawyer for your case can make all the difference in the world. Learn more.
  • What is the penalty for 5th DWI in Texas?Everyone facing a DWI 5th charge will go to jail in Texas unless the charge is dismissed. In Texas, Driving While Intoxicated charges jump from misdemeanor to felony after two convictions. All DWI 3rd or more charges are categorized as felonies that can include prison incarceration as punishment, and mandatory jail time even when probation is granted. Learn more. 

Texas DWI Statute 

The Texas DWI statute is found in Section. 49.04. of the Texas Penal Code, and states:

  • DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED.  (a)  A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
  • (b)  Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.
  • (c)  If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that at the time of the offense the person operating the motor vehicle had an open container of alcohol in the person’s immediate possession, the offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of six days.
  • (d)  If it is shown on the trial of an offense under this section that an analysis of a specimen of the person’s blood, breath, or urine showed an alcohol concentration level of 0.15 or more at the time the analysis was performed, the offense is a Class A misdemeanor.

Is jail required for DWI in Texas? 

All Texans charged with DWI first-offense, DWI .15+, DWI 2nd, or felony DWI 3rd or more face jail time. However, for first-time offenders, jail is not a requirement of punishment or probation. Learn more.

  • How long is probation for DWI in Texas?DWI probation can last up to 2 years for misdemeanor charges and up to 10 years for those convicted of felony DWI. Learn more.
  • What happens if you deny a breathalyzer in Texas?If you refuse to provide a breath specimen while under investigation for DWI or DUI, law enforcement officers can obtain a search warrant to draw and test your blood.
  • Can you lose your license for DWI in Texas?In addition to a potential blood draw, refusing a breath specimen also violates the Texas Implied Consent Law and results in an automatic driver license suspension. However, a breath specimen over the legal limit also results in a suspension. Learn more.

    Texans with a suspended driver license may obtain a temporary license, called a Texas Occupational License, to drive legally during a period of suspension. Learn more.
  • Can you get fired for a DWI in Texas?There is no law that requires an employer to fire an individual when charged with DWI. However, many businesses have reporting requirements that mandate the employee disclose being arrested and charged. DWI charges do show up on background checks in Texas, even while pending. Learn more. 


Trey Porter is a dynamic advocate, nationally recognized for his work in DWI Defense. He has been voted by his peers as a best lawyer in the field of Criminal and DWI Defense every year since 2015. Recognized by SuperLawyers, Mr. Porter has also been distinguished as a Top 40 Under 40 Criminal Defense Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Porter holds a Superb rating from AVVO, where attorneys are rated based on skillful litigation, client satisfaction, peer endorsements, and positive results. Learn more.

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Attorney Trey Porter

Trey Porter

Trey Porter is one of the highest-rated criminal defense attorneys in Texas. Nationally recognized, Mr. Porter relentlessly fights to protect and assert his clients’ constitutional rights in and out of courtrooms across the state.


If you have been arrested and charged with a crime, it’s time to start building your defense.

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Results matter when life and livelihood are on the line. DWI arrests are warrantless arrests, and the State is legally bound to a burden of proving the charge beyond all reasonable doubt.

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