If you’re facing a second DWI in Texas, you probably have some familiarity with the Texas legal system. So let’s face it, forgiving isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind when you’re thinking about the Texas legal system.
We’re home to some tough cops, tough judges and even tougher sentencing; even so, sometimes even Texas’ lawmakers understand that people make mistakes. For instance, you can now seal your DWI in Texas. But when it comes to a second DWI, Texas isn’t quite as nice—in fact, the penalties are a lot more severe.
Here’s what you need to know about second DWI in Texas, and what your options are if you find yourself facing this charge.
The Penalties for a Second DWI in Texas
In the state of Texas, a second DWI is not considered a felony. Instead, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, a step up in potential consequences from your first DWI. As if the penalties for your first DWI weren’t bad enough, the penalties for your second DWI in Texas are just that much more severe.
For starters, the fine for conviction doubles from $2,000 to $4,000, and that’s not all. The fine is steep, but can you go to jail for a second DWI and is it mandatory? Additionally, there is a mandatory 3 day jail sentence and the possible sentence can range anywhere from one month to one year—that’s double the maximum sentence for your first DWI. If this isn’t enough incentive, keep in mind that a 3rd DWI conviction is automatically a felony.
Additionally, for your 2nd Texas DWI, you may be required to attend courses, install an interlock on your car and face DWI license suspension in Texas for as long as two years. Even if you get to keep your license, you may have to pay a $2,000 fine every year for three years in order to keep your license valid. These secondary punishments may be the same as your first DWI, but your risk of maximum sentencing increases significantly. For instance, someone convicted of their first DWI may only have their license suspended for six months—someone convicted of their second DWI is more likely to face the full sentencing for their charges.
Worst of all, people convicted of their second DWI are not eligible to have their record sealed in Texas. In other words, if you get convicted of DWI twice, it’s permanent.
And lastly, now under the law, a jury can hear you have had a first DWI conviction in the trial of the second DWI. Juries don’t like hearing that.
What to Do if You’re Charged with a Second DWI in Texas
When you’re arrested for your second DWI in Texas, you need to consult an experienced DWI attorney as soon as possible. It is absolutely essential that your case gets off to the right start, and that means having qualified representation in your corner before or as soon as you leave the jail. Convincing a jury to render a “Not Guilty” verdict on second DWI can be more complicated than it is the first time around—in addition to prosecutors, you have to deal with more assumptions and pre-judgement. Your case needs to be well-assembled so that you have as much time as possible to collect and analyze available evidence.
Despite what people may say, a DWI charge isn’t an automatic guilty verdict, and proving intoxication is far more complicated than saying the alphabet or even using a Breathalyzer. With the right DWI attorney in your corner, the science and circumstances behind the state’s evidence can be called into question, increasing your chances of a favorable verdict.
Taking the right steps during your initial traffic stop can also make a huge difference in your case. Despite what you may have heard, agreeing to take a Breathalyzer can actually help your case. Breathalyzers are significantly less accurate than blood tests, and juries have a much harder time believing their results. Additionally, your Fifth Amendment right is your friend. Avoid making incriminating statements like how much you had to drink. Instead, ask to speak to your attorney and only speak to comply with police commands.
Charged With Your Second DWI in Texas? Call Mark Thiessen at the Thiessen Law Firm Today!
If you’re facing your second DWI, you don’t have time for second best! As Houston’s top DWI attorney, Mark Thiessen and his team at Thiessen Law Firm have dealt extensively with probation for DWI, beaten second DWI charges, intoxication manslaughter charges in court and they’re ready to do it again.
To get your case off to the right start, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.