Question: What are the penalties for a first-offense DWI in Texas?
Answer: First-time DWI is punishable up to 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine to the county and up to a $6,000 fine to the State—they call it a surcharge. Now, if a person provides a breath sample of 0.15% or higher, then it moves it up to a Class A misdemeanor, which is the same level as a second DWI, and that applies even if it’s the first time a person’s ever been arrested. And it increases the penalty up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine to the county, and the $6,000 fine if a person provides a breath sample of 0.16% or higher. Also, if a person provides a breath or blood sample of 0.15% or higher, if they’re put on probation, they will be required to have the ignition interlock on their car for half of the probation period—and some judges require a person to have it on their car for the full term of their probation.