If you’re facing a DWI second offense 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.

Second-offense DWIs are much more severe than 1st DWI offenses in Texas; they come with increased penalties and more aggressive prosecution than first offenses, and the chances of a judge going easy on you are almost nonexistent. 

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.

Is 2 DWI a felony in Texas?

One of the most common questions that arise after being charged with a second DWI is “Is a second offense DWI automatically a felony DWI in Texas?” The answer to this question is that while a second offense DWI in Texas is not always a felony, it can be

Without any aggravating factors, or special circumstances that make a DWI charge more serious than it otherwise would be, a second DWI is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, but if any of the following are true of your DWI arrest, you will likely be looking at a felony. 

  • You were arrested for DWI with a child passenger in the car. If you are arrested under suspicion of DWI with a minor under the age of 15 you will be charged with a state jail felony.
  • Your DWI caused an accident in which someone was injured. Intoxication assault, which is when DWI causes an accident that results in the serious injury of another person, is a third-degree felony in Texas.
  • Your DWI caused an accident in which someone died. Causing the death of another person while driving drunk results in the most serious DWI charge under the sun. If you are charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas you will be facing a second-degree felony that can land you in prison for up to 20 years

Penalties for felony DWI convictions are significantly more severe than those for misdemeanor DWIs and include lengthy prison sentences and exorbitant fines. If you are arrested under suspicion of felony DWI, make sure to hire a felony DWI lawyer to take your case. 

Penalties for a DWI second offense in Texas

Penalties for a second DWI offense in Texas are much more severe than those for a first DWI offense, even if you are charged with a misdemeanor, and are as follows:

Fines for a 2nd DWI

For starters, Texas DWI fines double 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 for a 2nd DWI

Is jail time mandatory for 2nd DWI in Texas? Yes, there is a mandatory three-day jail sentence for DWI second offenses in Texas. Average sentences for a 2nd DWI in Texas fall somewhere within the possible sentence range, which is one month to one year — double the maximum sentence for your first DWI. 

If this isn’t enough incentive, keep in mind that a conviction for a 3rd DWI offense in Texas 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).

Continue reading about multiple DWI offenses in Texas and the associated penalties


Can you get probation for a 2nd 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.

Additional punishments for 2nd DWI in Texas

Secondary punishments are also much more commonly associated with second and subsequent DWIs in Texas. Almost all items on the following list of punishments can be associated with first DWIs as well, but you are much more likely to incur them on second DWI charges. 

  • Ignition interlock device
  • Alcohol education programs
  • Community service time 
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Impact on employment
  • Immigration consequences

Potentially the worst penalty for a 2nd DWI in Texas is that individuals who are convicted of a second DWI are not eligible for DWI deferred adjudication in Texas or to have their record sealed. In other words, if you get convicted of DWI twice, it’s permanent

Can a 2nd DWI be reduced in Texas?

A second DWI in the Lone Star State can be reduced, but only if you work with a tenacious legal team that knows how to get a 2nd DWI charge reduced in Texas. But we’re here to tell you that if you’ve been charged with a second offense DWI in Texas, you can set your sights even higher than having the charge reduced. 

If you want to protect your freedom, the best possible outcome is beating the DWI charge entirely. You can do that by hiring a lawyer who has experience taking high-stakes DWI cases to court and winning them, like the Houston DWI lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm. 

Whether your charge is eventually reduced or outright beaten, your lawyer will go about fighting your case using the following techniques: 

  • Arguing that your rights were infringed upon 
  • Arguing that the breath or blood tests are inaccurate 
  • Finding errors or inconsistencies in the case

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 jail. Convincing a jury to render a “Not Guilty” verdict for a second DWI charge can be much more complicated than it is for a first-time offense, which is why you need Mark Thiessen from Thiessen Law Firm to handle your DWI case.

Remember, a second DWI charge doesn’t mean an automatic guilty verdict. With the right DWI attorney by your side, you can give yourself a chance at freedom. 

Facing a DWI second offense in Texas? Call Thiessen Law Firm to defend your freedom today!

While facing a DWI second offense in Texas is a dead-serious matter, it doesn’t mean that you’re dead in the water. Give yourself a chance by hiring an experienced and aggressive trial attorney with experience fighting and winning complex DWI cases in a court of law.

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 the areas of toxicology and DWI science which allow him to properly educate jurors and judges on the science at play in your DWI case. What does this mean? A better shot at a “Not Guilty” verdict. 

Whether you were charged with a DWI in Texas first offense or need an intoxication manslaughter lawyer to fight to keep you out of prison, Mark Thiessen and the Houston DWI lawyers at Thiessen Law Firm are up to the task. 

Call Thiessen Law Firm today at (713) 864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation. Your future may 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.