If you’re facing a 2nd DWI in Texas, you probably have some familiarity with the Texas legal system –– and let’s face it, “forgiving” isn’t usually the first word that comes to mind. Texas is home to some tough cops, tough judges, and even tougher sentences, especially for DWIs.

However, sometimes even Texas lawmakers understand that people make mistakes. For example, you are now able to seal your first DWI in Texas. But when it comes to a second DWI, Texas DWI laws aren’t quite as nice. In fact, the penalties are a lot more severe.

Here’s what you need to know about 2nd DWI in Texas and what your options are if you find yourself facing this charge.

Note: A 2nd offense DUI (driving under the influence) is completely different from a 2nd DWI in Texas. A person can only be charged with a DUI in Texas if they are under the age of 21 and the conviction is less severe than a second DWI.

Penalties for a 2nd 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 coming with a step up in potential consequences from your first DWI. As if the penalties for your first DWI in Texas weren’t bad enough, the penalties for your second DWI in Texas are that much more severe.


For starters, Texas DWI fines cost for conviction doubles from $2,000 to $4,000 for a second DWI in Texas. DWIs, especially after multiple offenses, are not cheap if convicted. This can really damage your financial future. 

Jail time

Is jail time mandatory for 2nd DWI in Texas? Yes, there is a mandatory three-day jail sentence and the possible sentence range is 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 in Texas conviction is automatically a felony, and you do not want to think about the consequences related to those penalties right about now. (Spoiler alert: they can be life-altering).


Can you get probation for a second DWI in Texas? Yes, but it isn’t always the most ideal outcome. Convicted motorists can also face up to two years of probation for a 2nd DWI in Texas and will have to abide by the following secondary punishments associated with the probation guidelines.

Secondary punishments 

If you are convicted of a second DWI, you may be required to attend alcohol education courses, install an interlock on your car, and potentially have your license suspended for as long as two years

These secondary punishments may be the same as your first DWI, but your risk of receiving the maximum-possible sentence increases significantly. For instance, someone convicted of their first DWI may only have their license suspended for six months while someone convicted of their second DWI is more likely to face the full sentencing for their charges.

The charge becomes permanent 

Potentially the worst penalty for a 2nd DWI in Texas is that individuals who are convicted of a second DWI cannot have their DWI deferred in Texas or have their record sealed. In other words, if you get convicted of DWI twice, it’s permanent. Now, according to 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, and it is less likely that they will rule in your favor.

How can I get a second DWI reduced in Texas?

Blow, don’t bleed

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 comply with police commands.

Hire the right DWI defense attorney

When you’re arrested for a 2nd 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. You need Mark Thiessen from Thiessen Law Firm to handle your DWI case.

Convincing a jury to render a “Not Guilty” verdict for a second DWI charge can be more complicated than it is for a first-time offense. In addition to prosecutors, you have to deal with more assumptions and pre-judgment from the jurors. Your case needs to be well-assembled so that you and your attorney have as much time as possible to collect and analyze available evidence.

Despite what people may say, a second DWI charge doesn’t mean an automatic guilty verdict. With the right DWI attorney by your side, the science and circumstances behind the state’s evidence can be called into question, increasing your chances of a favorable verdict.

Charged With Your 2nd DWI in Texas? Call Mark Thiessen at the Thiessen Law Firm Today!

A 2nd DWI in Texas is a serious charge with serious consequences. You cannot afford to not hire the best DWI defense attorney –– you need an aggressive attorney from Thiessen Law Firm fighting for you. Our Houston multiple DWI attorneys have secured “Not Guilty” verdicts in the most complex and seemingly hopeless cases.

Mark Thiessen, the founding DWI defense attorney of Thiessen Law Firm, has earned the American Chemical Society-Chemistry and the Law’s (ACS-CHAL) Forensic Lawyer-Scientist designation — the highest form of scientific recognition available for lawyers. He is well-versed in numerous areas of science that allow him to properly educate jurors and judges on the sciences involved with your DWI case. What does this mean? A better shot at a “Not Guilty” verdict.

You cannot afford a 2nd DWI conviction. Call Thiessen Law Firm at (713) 864-9000or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today. Your freedom and your future depend on it.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.