Driving While Intoxicated – 2nd Offense

Defending A Second DWI

DWI 2nd Offense information and why you need an attorney to represent you

A second DWI charge in Houston, The Woodlands, Conroe, or elsewhere in East Texas can be an intimidating obstacle – a Class “A” misdemeanor that carries the risk of hefty fines, jail time, license suspension, and restrictive bond conditions or probation terms. You deserve the presumption of innocence. You deserve to be treated fairly. Enlist the services of an aggressive defense attorney to guard your liberty and protect your rights. We will provide you with a free case consultation.

DWI 2nd -Frequently Asked Questions

Will the judge or jury know that I’m charged with a second DWI?

Under Texas law, the judge in your trial court will know the government has charged you with a second DWI. However, if your case is set for trial, the government is not allowed to tell the jury this is your second DWI until the punishment phase of trial. In other words, when the jury is determining your guilt or innocence, the trial will proceed just like a first-time DWI trial. 

This is important, because you deserve to be treated fairly. You deserve a trial that is based on the facts of the present case – not prejudice based on something that happened years ago. 

What is the punishment range for a second DWI (DWI 2nd) charge in Texas?

The punishment range for a second offense DWI in Texas is as follows – a fine not to exceed $4,000 may be assessed, and if you’re sentenced without probation, you’ll face a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of up to one year in jail.

If you’re sentenced to probation on a second DWI, there are three to five days of required jail time depending on the timing of your first DWI conviction, and whether you serve the time continuously or in segments. If your first DWI was within the last five years of your new charge, you’re looking at five days in jail no matter what. If the first DWI was more than five years ago, you may end up serving 3 or 5 days. If you serve continuously, you’ll only have to serve three days, whereas if you serve your jail time in segments, five days are required. 

The government will typically offer a period of probation that will last for as little as one year, and up to two years, or three years should the judge elect to extend your probation. The thought process from the state here is that since it is your second offense, you may need to be monitored to ensure you address any substance abuse issues.

What are the criminal penalties regarding my driver’s license for a second DWI? 

It’s important to note that you still have to face the ALR process for a second DWI. In addition, there will be the following criminal license suspensions. If you’re sentenced without probation, you’ll face at least a 180 day driver’s license suspension that cannot run concurrent with your ALR suspension out of the same incident. This suspension will be even longer – for an entire year, if your prior first DWI conviction occurred within five years of your second offense. 

If you are sentenced to probation on a second DWI, and your prior first DWI conviction is within five years of the second offense, you’ll face a one year license suspension. Otherwise, a license suspension is only mandatory if you’re under the age of 21. If you are under 21, you’ll face at least a 180-day license suspension. 

Is an ignition interlock device required when punished for a second DWI?

Another important factor to note about punishment in a second DWI is that an ignition interlock is potentially required to be attached to your vehicle. If you are sentenced to probation, the interlock is mandatory. If you are sentenced without probation, the interlock is only required if your first DWI occurred within five years of your second conviction.

What are the state traffic fines for a second DWI? 

You face a $3,000 state traffic fine if convicted of a second DWI, unless your first prior DWI occurred within three years of the second. If so, the fine jumps to $4,500. 

Are there any circumstances where I can get a lighter punishment?

Second DWI’s are not easy charges for citizens to face, because they carry harsh mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, including jail time and costly fines. 

If you do choose to seek a plea bargain instead of fighting your case, one option to consider is bargaining with the government to reduce your second DWI down to a first DWI. This lessens the charge to a Class “B” misdemeanor, and it helps you avoid the mandatory provisions that accompany a second DWI. It is important to be warned however that a reduction still allows the government to use the charge against you later if you get in trouble again. The government could use two DWI 1st convictions to enhance a third DWI all the way to a third degree felony.