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Will I go to jail on a first time DWI?

A question we hear often is whether jail time on a first DWI is mandatory. The short answer is ‘not really’. The longer answer, though, is that any conviction is technically a jail sentence. The way DWI probation works is that the court sentences you to jail time, but probates that sentence and places you on DWI probation. However, for those wishing to avoid probation on a first time DWI conviction, the law requires a minimum of 3 days. Many courts require three full days (72 hours) and will not give 2-for-1 credit on these three days.
On occasion, the court will make jail time mandatory as a condition of probation. The good news is that for a first-time DWI, this rarely occurs. This mandatory jail time as a condition usually occurs on a second or third DWI. Even then, some courts allow alternatives for this jail time, such as DWI labor detail.