Being charged with a DWI in Texas is an offense with serious criminal penalties, but most people fail to realize that the civil penalties of a DWI are just as painful. These civil penalties are independent of the criminal charge and can greatly affect your bank account and your driving privileges.
If you are charged with a DWI, the Texas Department of Transportation automatically initiates a proceeding to suspend your driver’s license. Unless you are successful at contesting this suspension, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days.
If you are convicted of a DWI, you driver’s license is suspended for up to one year. There is no contesting this suspension. In addition to your license suspension, there are heavy administrative fees you will be required to pay once you are able to drive again. If at the time of your DWI arrest, your blood-alcohol concentration was between .08-.15, you will have to pay a fee of $1,000 a year for the three years following your year of license suspension. If your blood-alcohol concentration was above .15 at the time of your arrest, you will have to pay a fee of $2,000 a year for the next three years.
The above listed civil penalties are for a first time DWI offender. If you are convicted of a 2nd or 3rd DWI, the penalties are harsher. A license suspension can be up to two years, and the required fees can be up to $4,000 a year. The best thing anyone can do to avoid these fines and license suspensions is to avoid drinking and driving to protect yourself and others from alcohol related accidents.