What Happens When You Get a DWI?

DWI (or DUI depending upon the state in which you live) is a charge used when you have allegedly operated a vehicle while legally intoxicated. Though state laws vary, you can be arrested if your blood or breath alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit for your state or if you are demonstrably impaired regardless of your BAC. Navigating your resulting court case can be confusing and intimidating.

Understanding the Charges

Expert criminal defense attorney Amarillo TX Jeffrey A. Hill notes that DWI charges can be “as much about your character as the incident in question.” Possible ramifications of a conviction will vary based upon your state of residence and your number of prior convictions. Hiring a criminal defense attorney increases your chance of getting charges reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor offense, being awarded deferred adjudication, or having your case dismissed, which lessens or eliminates these ramifications.

Loss of License

In many states, if you refuse a blood or breath alcohol test at the time of your arrest, you will face automatic license suspension, generally from a half to a full year. An attorney can help reinstate your work driving privileges until your case is heard. If convicted, you will face the loss of your license for at least a month for a first offense to up to two years for a third or subsequent conviction.


You will face fines from a few hundred dollars to about $1,000 dollars for a first conviction, and up to $10,000 or more for a third conviction.


For a first conviction, you will face anywhere from three days to six months in jail. Third or subsequent convictions can entail as much as 10 years in prison.

A DWI is no small offense. Consider the consequences before you get behind the wheel, and if you do find yourself facing charges, enlist the aid of an experienced attorney.

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