Comprehensive Details onDWI Penalties and Punishments That You Should Know

Photo of author

( — March 31, 2018) — As with any criminal charge, anyone who is charged with DWI (Driving while intoxicated) is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The defendant is allowed to plead and if found guilty, the penalty handed will be issued according to the state law.

A DWI charge is a serious offense that you don’t want to play around with as it has seen many people lose their driving licenses. Most offenders when arrested and charged do not have the slightest idea how to defend themselves. It is therefore wise to hire a DWI defense attorney who only deals with DWI cases so that they can advise you accordingly.

If found guilty ofa DWIoffense will lead to very serious consequences. These consequences include:

  • Fines –A DWI offender may receive both fines and jail terms. Courts can impose high fines that range between $500 and$2,000for this crime. The fines do not in any way pay for jail terms but they may accompany each other. They can also be prorated according to the number of times you have been arrested and charged with this same crime.   
  • Jail time – The first DWI offense is classified as misdemeanor and it is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. This jail term is determined by the amount of alcohol found after taking the BAC test. Most states give a jail term of anything from a few days to a whole year depending on:

-The level of alcohol found in your system

 -The level of cooperation

 -The occupants of your vehicle at the time of arrest

 -The number of times arrested and charged with DWI crime in the past

  • Driver’s license problems –A DWI offender will have their license suspended due to the crime committed for a substantial amount of time. For example, most states suspend the driver’s license for 90 days for the first offender, one year for a second offender and three years for a driver who is committing this crime for the third time.  Each time you are stopped and refuse to take a blood, breath and urine test, it results in your license suspension whether you are guilty of DWI or not. Cooperation is key anytime you are stopped by the police.     
  • Young offenders – Minors who are arrested for driving while intoxicated won’t get any breaks from the law. Being a young offender actually makes matters worse for you as the legal drinking age in most states is 21. The state penalizes underage DWI offenders with a lower level of BAC which is 0.2%.

Alternative forms of punishment

Different states have different forms of punishment for the DWI crime but they have one thing in common; every state tries to help you become a better responsible citizen. Some of the states offer alcohol education and prevention plans, management for alcohol abuse, assessment of a person to likely alcohol as well as drug addictions or dependency, community service and victim restoration. 


Some people who are charged with DWI can lose their jobs, especially if they drive a school bus, a delivery truck or any other kind of vehicle. The driver may also face a separate civil suit if the accident victims decide to sue for either bodily harm or property damage or for both.