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  • Writer's pictureBrian Foley

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney - What is the punishment for DWI in Houston, Texas?

Houston Criminal Defense Attorney and Houston DWI Attorney - Brian Foley - Board Certified in Criminal Law


If you've been arrested for Driving While Intoxicated in Houston, Texas you may be asking yourself, "What is the punishment for DWI in Houston, Texas?" Or, "How long do you go to jail for DWI in Houston, Texas?"


The punishment for a DWI in Houston, Texas is a class B misdemeanor with a range of 3-180 days in jail and up to a $2000 fine for a first offense. There is also the possibility of probation for up to two years. Open Container enhancements change the minimum punishment to 6 days in jail.


If the case is aggravated by a blood test or breath test being greater than or equal to .15 at the time of testing or it is your second offense then the punishment is enhanced to a Class A misdemeanor with a punishment range of up to 365 days in jail and a fine of up to $4000. There is also the possibility of probation for up to two years. On DWI seconds the minimum jail time is 30 days.


If there is a child passenger in the vehicle younger than 15 then the punishment is a State Jail Felony and has a range of 6 months - 2 years in a State Jail Facility. There is also the possibility of probation for up to 5 years and a $10,000 fine.


If it is your third DWI arrest, meaning you have two prior convictions for DWI or similar intoxication offenses then the case will be filed as a Third Degree Felony and the punishment range will be from 2-10 years in Prison or probation for up to 10 years and up to a $10,000 fine.


DWI First Class B 3-180 days in Jail

DWI Second Class A 30-365 days in Jail

DWI with a Child under 15 State Jail Felony 6 months - 2 years in State Jail

DWI Third or More 3rd Degree Felony 2 - 10 years in Prison

DWI Open Container Class B 6-180 days in Jail


There are other intoxication related offenses like Intoxication Assault and Intoxication Manslaughter that carry higher punishment ranges but for a DWI that does not involve serious bodily injury or death the highest punishment range is typically that of a third degree felony 2-10 years in prison. Now lets say that someone is charged with DWI and it is their 5th one. If they went to prison on DWI #3 and DWI #4 sequentially then their new punishment range for DWI #5 would be a minimum of 25 years - Life in Prison. This is called the habitual offender enhancement and is found in the Texas Penal Code under Section 12.42


If you received a probation for DWI #3 and a conviction and prison sentence on DWI #4 then the punishment range would only be enhanced one level from a 3rd degree felony to a 2nd degree felony.



There are many permutations of what can occur and the only way to be sure in your case is to call an experienced Houston Criminal Defense Attorney and seek a consultation.


For litigants who do not have counsel: Reading this blog post does not create an attorney client relationship. Call to set up a free consultation.


For the general public: This Blog/Web Site is for educational purposes only and it provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship created. Don't just read this as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney.


For attorneys: This Blog is informational and educational in nature and is not a substitute for Westlaw or other research and consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. As you know the law can change day to day based on recent case opinions. And unfortunately you shouldn't cite it in court as binding authority because it is not. Mention it to your friends, just seek real consultation if it’s something important.


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