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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

How Many Hours of Community Service for DUI: A Full Breakdown

In Texas, a DUI (driving under the influence) is also known as a DWI (driving while intoxicated). If a driver has been caught driving while intoxicated, they are most likely to receive a DWI conviction. Depending on the severity of the offense, the ramifications can vary. That is why it is essential to never drive while under the influence, but if it does happen, then the driver should be prepared for the consequences.

This post will break down everything there is to know about a DWI and what might happen after conviction.

Probation in Texas Law

Probation in Texas Law

Before looking at what could happen depending on the number of DWI offenses a driver has, it is essential to discuss Chapter 42A of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. This allows those who have been charged with a DWI the ability to complete community service instead of going to jail.

However, listed below, there are minimum jail terms that a person may require to serve depending on the circumstance.

First Offense for a DWI

A first offense DWI in Texas is classed as a Class B Misdemeanor. The fine cannot exceed $2,000. Jail time cannot be less than 72 hours in county jail, and it cannot be more than six months. However, if there was an open container of alcohol in the vehicle when arrested, the driver will remain in confinement for six days.

Texas law has made it so that the judge cannot order less than 24 hours and nothing greater than 100 community service hours for the offender. Additionally, most people convicted of a first offense usually only receive community service.

However, other conditions can also be imposed depending on the conviction:

  • Drug/Alcohol Evaluation: This means that the driver who has been convicted must submit an evaluation showing the likelihood of committing a DWI again in the future. If the driver has a problem, additional terms and conditions can be imposed.

  • The driver may also need to attend and complete a DWI Education class within 180 days.

  • They might have to attend and complete a Victim Impact Panel. This is where a forum of victims of drunk drivers come together and explain to the persons convicted of a DWI the dangers of driving while intoxicated.

  • The driver must work at suitable employment, not commit more crimes, and remain at the same residence and occupation. If any of these changes, they must inform the probation officer.

  • They may need to pay a monthly fee and perform community service hours.

Second Offense for a DWI

Texas law states that if a driver has been arrested and accused of a second DWI or a greater offense, the courts must now order a Condition of Release from Jail on Bond. Moreover, they must place an ignition interlock device on the vehicle they intend to drive. This is important because the offender cannot start the car without using this device, and it can also ask for additional breath samples while driving.

It can ensure that the driver is still sober throughout their journey. Additionally, the technology now used is advanced enough to know who is blowing into the machine, so no one else can blow in instead.

Some argue that this is harsh because the driver has not been proven guilty yet, but the Texas courts say this is needed to protect the community.

The fine that is charged cannot be over $4,000. When it comes to jail time, the offender can only be kept in county jail for up to 72 hours and no more than one year. Once convicted of a DWI in Texas, the driver must complete at least 80 hours of community service and no more than 200 hours.

Lastly, the driver may have their license suspended for no less than 180 days or more than two years.

Third Offense (Or Greater) for a DWI

Suppose a driver has been convicted of a DWI in Texas more than twice, then the ramifications continue to worsen. The fine cannot exceed $10,000. Additionally, jail time can be of a term of no less than two years and no more than 10 in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Institutional Division. Moreover, an ignition interlock device will be given to the driver to use on the vehicle that they may still drive.

Texas law mandates that the offender cannot have less than 160 hours and no more than 600 hours of community service work when it comes to community service. Additionally, the offender may have their driver's license suspended for no less than 180 days and no more than two years.

Moreover, if this is the third time the driver has committed a DWI, then the court or jury may believe that there needs to be a form of rehabilitation. This is usually given to avoid jail time. In some cases, the offender may be placed in an in-patient incarceration program known as Substance Abuse Felony Probation (SAFP).

This is a program where the offender needs to be in a state facility for alcohol rehabilitation. After they have completed the SAFP program, they are released and placed on a probation program that does not exceed 10 years.

Additionally, some people who have committed a DWI in Texas may need to take the prescription drug called 'Antabuse.' This drug makes it, so the offender becomes violently ill if they were to consume any alcohol. However, it has been known that this drug can cause liver failure and death if the offender already has liver problems.

Intoxication Assault

Intoxication assault is classed as a felony, and it is when a person commits an accident or a mistake while operating a vehicle under the influence.

When a driver is convicted of this in Texas, they cannot receive a fine greater than $10,000. Additionally, they are likely to go to jail for no less than two years and no more than 10. Moreover, they are mandated to complete no less than 160 hours and no more than 600 hours of community service.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Intoxication manslaughter is when a driver under the influence while operating a vehicle causes death by accident or mistake.

When this happens, then the fine cannot exceed $10,000. Additionally, jail time will be given for no less than two years and no more than 20 years. Moreover, the offender may be given community service hours no less than 240 hours and no more than 800 hours.

Additional Probation Conditions

Depending on the case, additional conditions can end up being used. A lot of the conditions used are there to help address the problem of alcohol/drug use. However, it is essential to remember that a specific order is only given at the end of each conviction. That means that the additional conditions will not be added on later.

This is a list of the additional conditions that can be given with a DWI conviction:

  • Ignition Interlock Device: The ignition interlock device is placed on any car the driver intends to drive while on DWI probation. It requires the driver to provide a breath sample before they are allowed to start the vehicle. This is usually only given when the judge believes that the offender may repeat the offense. Additionally, this is generally suggested as a way to avoid jail time.

  • Alcohol Treatment: The offender needs to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous program or another counseling program. However, those who have an extreme case may be placed in an outpatient unit instead.

  • Consume No Alcohol: Usually, the offender is not allowed to consume alcohol while on probation. If they do, then this will be classed as a probation violation. Additionally, some courts may say that the offender cannot enter any bars, lounges, or clubs.

  • Confinement: Depending on the case, some courts may require the offender to spend time in the county jail.

  • Restitution: If an accident has occurred due to the DWI, and the insurance company has not paid out to the injured party, then the offender will have to pay.

  • Enhanced Penalties: According to Texas law, if the offender has been charged with a DWI previously, they will receive harsher or enhanced punishment. When a driver has been charged with one DWI in Texas and is charged with an additional one within 10 years, the court can use the previous conviction as a reason to enhance the current penalties.

Additionally, the drug or alcohol dependence evaluation is required by Texas law for all people who have been convicted to a DWI probation. There are education programs that are also required of the offender to complete by a specific time. However, this can be waived by the judge depending on the offender.

If you want to know how much is bail for a DWI in Texas, we have another article on that.

Probation Requirements

Probation needs to be followed by the offender after being convicted of a crime. This is important because if they do not follow the rules, they have committed a probation violation, so they will end up being penalized for this. Some of the usual requirements are:

  • Random drug tests

  • Not committing another offense

  • Avoiding any 'immoral' behavior

  • Reporting to a probation officer monthly

  • There are going to be inspections at the offender’s home and work

  • They must stay employed

  • Permission must be sought out before leaving the country or state

  • All fines and court costs must be paid

  • Any dependents that the offender must be supported

  • The court needs to be notified if the offenders home address or work address has changed

Failure to comply with any of the previously mentioned points means that the offender has committed a probation violation. If this happens, then there are ramifications that the court will implement. Also, this does not help the driver's case.

What Happens with a Probation Violation?

If the offender has been accused of a probation violation, they are entitled to a hearing with a judge. This is because the state needs to prove that the offender has committed a breach of their probation. Additionally, they need to provide evidence to the court.

However, if there is ever any chance of the driver committing a probation violation, they should seek legal counsel right away. This is because they will be able to help the offender in this situation. It is essential to have someone defend the accused in this setting, so they are treated fairly by the courts and the state.

Moreover, if the offender's DWI probation has been revoked, they should be aware that they will be sentenced to confinement. This stay is imposed as a condition of probation in Texas under 42A.401. Additionally, this stay does not count towards completing the total amount of jail time the offender may receive due to violating their probation.

The most common probation violation comes from the ignition interlock devices. It picks up a 'dirty blow,' and the offender has then violated their probation. However, if this has happened, it is essential to call a Fort Worth TX DUI lawyer to seek legal advice.

How Long Is the Offender on Probation in Texas?

This number varies depending on many factors, but a good guess is that the offender will be on probation for one to two years. However, if this offender has three or more DWI charges or has been convicted of Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter, they will have a longer probationary period.

What Are the Chances of a Deferred Adjudication?

It is only recently that deferred adjudication has become available in Texas. As of September 1st, 2019, Texas law allows judges to put offenders charged with a first DWI offense in Texas to be on deferred adjudication probation. When an offender has successfully passed the deferred adjudication, they have pleaded 'guilty' to the criminal charges, then met the requirements laid out by the court within a certain period.

This means that they have completed community service, treatment, or another form of community supervision. Once this is achieved, they may avoid being formally convicted or their case being dismissed entirely.

That is why many offenders wonder if they can receive deferred adjudication in Texas. However, this can only happen if this is the first DWI offense for the offender, and they did not have a greater than 0.15% BAC or owned a commercial driver's license.

If the offender can receive deferred adjudication, the judge must place an ignition interlock device in the car as a condition of the deferred. However, the only way a judge will not use any ignition interlock devices is if the offender does not pose a threat to the community.

Also, it is essential to note that a deferred adjudication does count towards a repeat DWI enhancement, so just because a person has been deferred once does not mean it is not going to happen again. It is more likely that the person will receive enhanced punishment if they are caught with a DWI again.

The Minimum Jail Time

When it comes to the minimum amount of time that a person needs to serve in jail for a DWI all depends on how many convictions they have had. It is doubtful that for a first-time offense DWI, the driver will receive any jail time. Instead, it is more likely that the driver will have to complete community service.

However, if it can be proven that the offender has had a DWI five years or more prior to the current conviction, they will need to spend at least 72 hours in jail; this is with probation as well. The 72 hours are continuous, which means it is a full three days in prison.

Additionally, if the driver has had three or more convictions for a DWI in Texas, they will be in jail for a minimum of 10 days to a maximum of 30 days with probation.

It depends on how many times the offender has had a DWI in Texas and if anyone was hurt. If the driver has committed Intoxication Manslaughter, then the amount of time in jail will be more significant than a standard or repeat DWI.

Getting the Right Help

Getting the Right Help

At Sparks Law Firm, there is a team that is knowledgeable, experienced, and capable of helping those arrested for a DWI in Texas. Many attorneys and lawyers can assist with these matters.

It is essential to receive the correct legal aid in these situations because then every offender has a better chance of receiving a positive outcome. Otherwise, they are more likely to receive a harsher punishment because they do not have the proper knowledge or information to defend themselves.

People may contact Sparks Law Firm for any questions or inquiries after being arrested for a DWI in Texas.


Receiving a DWI is scary and is a life-changing experience. If you need help with a DWI case or understanding what is a DUI classified as, our lawyers can do that. Depending on the offense, the offender can look at a range of community service hours, jail time, or classes they need to attend. However, it is essential to have the right legal team available to receive the best possible outcome.

That is why it is essential to call Sparks Law Firm, because there are many excellent attorneys and lawyers ready to help and answer any questions that come up.


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