Punishment and Sentencing

In the unfortunate event the jury returns a verdict of guilty, the trial will, in a sense, start over. This is called the punishment phase of the trial. Each side gets a chance to make opening remarks, put on their case-in-chief and make closing arguments. However, the issues during this phase of the trial are limited to matters relevant to the punishment of the accused. Punishment may be conducted by the judge or by the jury. In the event you want the jury to assess punishment, you must file an Election as to Punishment before trial.

The range of punishment after conviction for a first offense DWI is from three to 180 days in the county jail and up to a $2,000 fine. If you have never been convicted of a felony in Texas, in any other state, or in the federal system, then you are eligible for probation (now called community supervision in the State of Texas), which may be for as long as three years. If you receive probation, the judge will set the terms and condition of probation.