San Antonio DWI Attorneys

If you or someone you care about has recently been charged with a DWI in San Antonio, you are probably overwhelmed with questions about what happens next. In this blog post, our San Antonio DWI attorneys discuss the penalties for a first offense DWI in San Antonio, and other frequently asked questions, to help those charged with the offense navigate the ensuing legal process. 

What is a DWI in Texas? 

In Texas, DWI is the acronym for the criminal offense of Driving While Intoxicated. 

Under the Texas Penal Code §49.04, driving while intoxicated is defined as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while not having the “normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body.” In simpler terms: if you are caught driving under the influence of any alcohol or drug that affects your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, you can be charged with DWI.

As it relates to driving under the influence of alcohol, the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers in Texas is a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of 0.08% for most drivers. The legal limit for commercial drivers is a BAC of 0.04%, and for drivers under 21, any detectable amount of alcohol in their system is against the law. 

Penalties for a First-Time DWI Offender in San Antonio

San Antonio, like the rest of Texas, does not take DWI offenses lightly—even if it is your first offense. Here is a quick snapshot of the possible penalties for a first-time DWI offender in San Antonio:

  • Fines: If convicted, a first-time offender could be looking at a fine of up to $2,000
  • Jail Time: A DWI offender in Texas faces 3 to 180 days in the county jail, even for a first offense. 
  • License Suspension: A first-time DWI offender’s driver’s license might be suspended for up to a year.
  • Additional Fees: A first-time DWI offender could be required to pay an annual fee for 3 years to keep their driver’s license, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000.
  • Other consequences: A first-time DWI offender can be required to perform community service and to attend a DWI education program.

Furthermore, certain aggravating factors can enhance the penalties a first-time DWI offender receives for a DWI conviction. For example, if they had an open alcohol container in the car when they were arrested, they can expect another $500 fine. Also, if their BAC was 0.15% or more, the maximum fine can shoot up to $4,000, with jail time increasing up to one year.

Is Jail Time Mandatory for a First DWI in Texas?

While Texas takes DWI charges very seriously, jail time is not always mandatory for a first offense. Many factors come into play, such as your BAC level at the time of arrest or if there was a minor in the car. But remember, each case is unique. So, while jail time can be part of the consequences for a first-time DWI conviction, that is not always the case.

Is a First DWI a Felony in Texas?

No, a first DWI offense in Texas is generally classified as a Class B misdemeanor. Felony charges usually come into the picture with repeat offenses or if there were particularly severe circumstances, like causing a fatal accident. 

Do You Get Probation for Your First DWI?

Up to 24 months of probation is a possibility for first-time DWI offenders in Texas. If granted, you will have to adhere to specific conditions like attending DWI school, doing community service, or periodically checking in with a probation officer. Probation is a way for the court to ensure you are learning from your mistake without throwing you behind bars.

How Do I Hide My First DWI?

You cannot entirely “hide” a DWI in Texas. If convicted, it will be on your record. But Texas does allow for something called “non-disclosure” under specific conditions, which means your DWI could be hidden from certain public records. However, law enforcement and certain entities can still access this information.

Can You Get a DWI Dismissed in San Antonio?

Possibly. By working with a skilled DWI attorney, San Antonio DWI offenders can explore factors like procedural errors or inaccuracies in the BAC testing that might play in their favor. An experienced DWI defense attorney can examine the details of the arrest and the prosecution’s evidence, looking for loopholes or inconsistencies that could get the case dismissed.

How Hard is it to Beat a DWI in Texas?

Beating a DWI charge is challenging, but not impossible. The Texas legal system is strict when it comes to DWI charges. However, “beating” a DWI often depends on the specifics of your case, the evidence, the expertise of your DWI attorney in San Antonio, and sometimes a bit of luck. Remember, it is about creating reasonable doubt regarding your guilt.

What is the Best-Case Scenario for a San Antonio DWI?

In the best case, your DWI gets dismissed, and you face no penalties. But, if there is concrete evidence against you, aiming for reduced penalties might be the next best thing. This could mean avoiding jail time, getting a reduced fine, or negotiating for a shorter license suspension.


We all make mistakes. But a DWI in San Antonio, even if it is your first offense, is a big deal. 

Texas takes DWI charges seriously, and so should you. The financial, legal, and personal ramifications can be long-lasting.

If you find yourself in this situation, our best advice is to consult an experienced criminal lawyer in San Antonio who can explain your rights and options and help you resolve the charge with the least possible consequences. 

Austin Office
816 Congress Ave, Suite 950
Austin, Texas 78701

San Antonio Office
700 N St Mary’s St, Suite 1457
San Antonio, Texas 78205