Does A DWI Conviction Mean Jail Time?

By | December 20, 2016

dwi conviction travis county texas


If I’m convicted of DWI, will I have to go to jail?

That depends. If you are placed on probation, then look at the table below for the answer.

OffenseJail Time as a Condition of Probation.
1st conviction for a Class B Misdemeanor DWI.No.
1st conviction for a Class A Misdemeanor DWI, so charged because your blood alcohol concentration was 0.15 or higher.No.
2nd conviction for DWI and your first conviction was more than five years before the arrest that led to the 2nd conviction.Yes, for a minimum of 3 days.
2nd conviction for DWI and your first conviction was less than five years before the arrest that led to the 2nd conviction.Yes, for a minimum of 5 days.
3rd conviction for DWI.Yes, for a minimum of 10 days.
Conviction for intoxication assault.Yes, for a minimum of 30 days.
Conviction for intoxication manslaughter.Yes, for a minimum of 120 days.

Why in the world would I prefer jail to probation?

First, the sheer harassment. I don’t think that the folks who invented our probation system intended to harass the dickens out of every person who goes through it.

But, if they had intended to harass the heck out of everyone who goes through probation, their system would look a lot like the one we have today.

Second, freedom of movement. Some defendants choose to leave Texas. The Interstate Compact on Adult Offender Supervision prohibits transferring supervision of a probation out of state for someone convicted of DWI for the first time. As a practical matter, if found guilty, those defendants can only resolve their cases by serving jail time.

Even if you don’t choose to leave Texas, probation restricts your ability to travel freely. Before you leave Travis County or any contiguous county, you have to get permission to travel from your probation officer. And the probation officer doesn’t have to give you permission.

Third, the sheer cost. Take the comparison below, of a Class B Misdemeanor DWI conviction.

18 Months of Probation15 Days of Jail Time Served on Weekends
Fine$  500$500
Court costs$  475$475
Supervision fees$1,080 (18 months x $60  /month)
Community Service Hours$  900 (60 hours x $15 / hour)
Grand Total$2,955$975

When you add the administrative surcharges of $1,000 / year for 3 years on top of this, you can see why some people would prefer to do a little jail time and keep their costs as low as possible.

Related Information:
DWI Frequently Asked Questions
Helpful Criminal Defense Videos