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Is jail time mandatory after a Texas DWI?

During a Texas traffic stop, the law enforcement officer who stops you may ask you to submit to a breath test if there is a suspicion you might have been drinking. If the results of that breath test lead to a charge of driving while intoxicated, you may have valid concerns about the penalties you might face if convicted.

Per the Texas Department of Transportation, driving under the influence of alcohol in Texas has serious, potentially life-altering penalties. While you may worry about having to cover fines and get by without your driver’s license for a period, you may feel especially fearful about the possibility of having to serve time behind bars.

Jail time after a first DWI

In Texas, jail time is mandatory after a drunk driving conviction, even if it is your first time receiving such a conviction. Under these circumstances, you must spend, at minimum, three days behind bars. However, depending on the details of your DWI arrest, you may have to serve up to 180 days behind bars.

Jail time after a second DWI

As you might imagine, the penalties become harsher when you face a subsequent conviction. A second Texas DWI brings with it somewhere between a month and a year behind bars.

Jail time after a third DWI

After a third DWI in Texas, expect to serve an even longer sentence. A third DWI offense brings with it somewhere between two and 10 years in prison.

Many different factors help determine if a DWI charge leads to a conviction, including the results of your breath test and the efficacy of the breath test device used to assess you.


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