Everyone likes to enjoy a night out on the town. If you and some friends decide to try out a great new restaurant in Corpus Christi, or one of its many craft breweries, you may not even realize you could be driving drunk until you see the flashing lights of a police officer pulling you over.

In Texas, as in many states, if you refuse a breath test or blood test to measure your blood alcohol (BAC) levels, you automatically will face a license suspension of 180 days.

Yet, if you do end up submitting to a breath or blood test, anything more than a .08 BAC will result in being arrested for driving while under the influence (DWI). Sometimes, you can get arrested with lower than a .08 BAC if your breath smells like alcohol or you are slurring your speech.

Here are the penalties you’ll face with a DWI conviction in Texas:

First offense

  • Up to $2,000 in fines
  • Three to 180 days in jail
  • Losing your driver’s license for up to a year
  • A $1,000 or $2,000 annual fee for three years to keep your driver’s license

Second offense

  • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • One month to one year in jail
  • Losing your driver’s license for up to two years
  • A $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 annual fee for three years to keep your driver’s license

Third offense

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • A jail term of two to 10 years
  • Losing your driver’s for up to two years
  • A $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 annual fee for three years to keep your driver’s license

If you have two or more DWI convictions in five years, you will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed. It will force you to pass a breath test before you can operate your vehicle.

You also will face harsher penalties if you are arrested for DWI and are carrying passengers under the age of 15.

A DWI conviction not only has legal consequences, but it ends up on your criminal record. It will show up on background checks and may hamper your ability to find a new job, keep your government job and more.

Consulting a criminal attorney about getting your DWI charges reduced or dismissed always is a good idea. An attorney can investigate if your breath test wasn’t administered properly or the machine wasn’t working properly. You also may find another way to avoid having a DWI on your criminal record.