Texas Requirements for DWI Education and Intervention Programs

We have detailed before in this blog the numerous penalties for Texas DWI. One of those penalties is the requirement to attend a DWI education program or a DWI intervention program. In both cases the education program must be completed before your license can be re-instated. First time offenders are eligible for an occupational license.

The DWI education program is for first time offenders receiving probation and concentrates on preventing future drunk driving behavior and provides education about Texas DWI laws. The DWI intervention program is for repeat offenders receiving probation and goes further into life-style changes and more in-depth information about substance abuse.

DWI Education Program for First Offenders

First, a recap of the possible penalties for a first offense:

  • Up to a $2,000 fine.
  • Jail time between 3 days and 180 days.
  • License suspension for up to 2 years.
  • Annual surcharge up to $2,000 for 3 years to keep license.
  • DWI intervention or education program.
  • Possible ignition interlock device.

The DWI education program is geared toward first time offenders receiving probation although there is a possibility that other circumstances will lead to the judge requiring the intervention program instead. DWI education is 12 hours long and must be completed by 180 days after probation granted to get your license reinstated. It includes:

  • Alcohol/drug and traffic safety problems.
  • Texas laws pertaining to DWI.
  • Effects of alcohol /drugs on humans.
  • Alcohol/drugs and driving task abilities.
  • Chemical dependency.
  • Symptoms of dependency.
  • Sources of assistance.
  • The cost of a DWI.
  • Decision-making.

All of these classes are specific to the offense and the cause. The hope is that with effective education, there will be no repeat offense. Younger drivers in particular may not be aware of the effects alcohol can have on the body and the ability to drive or bike safely.

DWI Intervention Program for Repeat Offenders

The differences in penalties between first and second offense include doubling of the maximum fine, and longer jail time (up to 1 year). A third offense can mean up to a $10,000 fine and state prison time from 2-10 years.

In this case, a DWI intervention program is generally recommended. This course is 32 hours and makes a deeper dive into the problem of alcohol and drug use/addiction. This program may also be recommended for first time offenders or others with drug or alcohol related problems for whom the education program is insufficient.

The intervention program goes into:

  • Life-style issues, values, self-esteem, responsibility
  • Positive thinking vs. irrational beliefs
  • Physiological/psychological effects of drugs, alcoholism, and chemical dependency
  • How drug abuse effects family members, co-dependency, Al-Anon
  • Treatment options, 12-Step self-help groups, peer pressure, relapse prevention
  • Problem solving and action planning

In other words, this program is a concentrated effort to show the consequences, not just of drunk driving, but of substance abuse and addiction.

License Suspension and Revocation

In both cases, if the program is not completed your license will be revoked until it is. As of this writing the Texas DWI law, or more precisely, Article 42.12, Section l3(h),Code of the Criminal Procedure for Texas, these programs were required for each DWI conviction.

A DWI conviction takes more away then your license. It takes hours of your time and cash out of your pocket in penalties. It isn’t just a ticket, it is an event that, if not handled appropriately, can cause further problems down the road.

If you or someone you know is facing a DWI conviction, contact us. The Doug Wilder Firm knows how to help.