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Is jail time automatic after a Texas DWI charge?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2023 | Drunk Driving |

Those accused of impairment at the wheel may find themselves facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. In cases with no aggravating factors, a first or second DWI will be classified as a misdemeanor offense in Texas. Many people believe that pleading guilty is the best solution to such charges, as they don’t want to go to trial even if they assert that they did not actually break the law.

However, a guilty plea leaves someone’s future at the discretion of a judge, who will sentence them for penalties in accordance with Texas state law. A judge must follow state recommendations, although they can be more strict or lenient depending on their interpretation of the situation, and a guilty plea does not ensure lenience. Is jail time always a consequence of a DWI charge?

Yes, the state has mandatory incarceration rules

Anyone arrested for a DWI will very likely spend time in state custody. There are mandatory minimum jail sentences for DWI charges in most cases. A first DWI will lead to at least three days in state custody, although a judge could sentence someone to up to 180 days in jail. A second offense results in between a month and a year in jail, while a third DWI will mean that someone spends between two and 10 years in prison.

It is possible to avoid that time in state custody by successfully defending against DWI charges. Although someone may have to miss work to attend their trial, if the alternative is half a year or more in jail, going to court could very well be the better option. There are many ways for those accused of impairment at the wheel to raise a reasonable doubt about whether or not they actually broke the law.

Reviewing the evidence that the state has with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney can be a good starting point for those who hope to fight back against Texas DWI charges and to remain free of state custody.