DWI penalties in Texas can be harsh, and the fines devastating. This is especially true for second DWI cases. If you are facing a DWI in Texas 2nd offense, it’s important to tread carefully. You could end up in jail for months — with no driver’s license for years. And if there are complicating factors that add to the offense, you may even be in jail for years.
A Texas DWI lawyer can guide you through your options and rights under Texas law. Contact Hoeller McLaughlin PLLC today to learn more.
What Is DWI Under Texas Law?
Texas law defines legal intoxication as a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) result of 0.08 or higher on a police test. Even if you don’t score that high, you may still be arrested for DWI, based on your behavior and field sobriety tests. If it’s clear you’re drunk, an officer may declare you legally intoxicated, no matter what your BAC score is.
Either way, they can arrest you for Driving While Intoxicated if you were driving any motor vehicle in any public place. This includes operating a motorboat on public waters — a “BWI” — or even flying while intoxicated. A first DWI conviction is a Class B Misdemeanor charge unless your BAC is at or above 0.15. Then it’s bumped up to a Class A Misdemeanor, like a second DWI offense.
If you’re convicted of a Class B Misdemeanor DWI, the penalties include:
- Three days to six months in jail.
- Fines of up to $2,000.
- Fees and court costs
- A court-required DWI education/intervention program.
- Possible installation of an ignition interlock on your vehicle.
- Driver’s license suspension for up to two years, with surcharges of up to $2,000 for three years to keep your license.
That may seem harsh, but Texas is very serious about curbing drunken driving.
NOTE: If you were caught DWI with a child in the car, the penalties may be much harsher. The fine goes up to as much as $10,000, with two years’ mandatory jail time.
What Are the Penalties for a DWI in Texas 2nd Offense?
Most DWI in Texas 2nd offense cases count as Class A Misdemeanors. But in some cases they can be felonies, depending on the conditions of the offense. The penalties are very like those for the first offense, but the jail time goes up to 30 days to a year, with fines up to $4,000.
How Can I Get My License Back?
The Texas Department of Public Safety will confiscate your driver’s license upon your conviction of any DWI offense. However, with an attorney’s help, you can fight against the DPS attempt to suspend your driver’s license if you request an Administrative License Revocation hearing within 15 days.
We recommend that you do fight a DWI charge, if only to protect your livelihood and freedom of movement. But you can’t do it alone. You’ll need an experienced DWI attorney to advise you on your options and to guide you along the best path toward success.
Your goal should be to get a case dismissal if possible. If you and your lawyer can convince the court the case lacks merit, or that the prosecutor can’t possibly win in a DWI trial, they may drop it.
What Defenses Are Available to Me?
Whether you decide to argue for case dismissal or proceed to a DWI trial, your best option is to base your defense on the testing procedures used by the police officer(s) who arrested you. They have to follow certain steps when giving you field tests and testing your BAC. You may be able to nullify the charges if they failed to follow the rules.
We also recommend that you check to see if the officer had probable cause to do a BAC test in the first place, whether their testing apparatus had been calibrated recently, or if they lacked the proper certification for calibrating and testing the testing apparatus. Any irregularities may get the evidence thrown out, which will kill the state’s case.