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DWI: Second Offense

Have you been arrested for the second time for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense in Texas? Getting a second DWI can be a serious offense. If you have been convicted of DWI in the past, you could face jail time as well as a lengthy period without your driver’s license.

If you are concerned about what a second DWI could mean for your future, you should know that you are not alone. The hard-working attorneys of Kraft & Associates will be on your side. We help people throughout Dallas, Fort Worth and neighboring communities who have been charged with DWI, including second-time offenders. We will aggressively protect your rights and provide strategic representation – just as we have done for all of our clients since 1971. Contact us to speak with an experienced DWI lawyer today.

Types of Punishment for a Second DWI in Texas

Texas is one of the worst states to pick up a second DWI charge. This is because Texas sets no limit for how many years pass between your first and second DWI charges. In theory, you could have been convicted of DWI at 21 and commit a second offense at 80 years of age, and it will be treated as a second offense.

Also, unlike other crimes where your past history of bad acts may be excluded from evidence, a jury at a second DWI trial would get to hear about your prior DWI. Juries tend to look at people with a second DWI charge as being habitual drunk drivers. Given the serious injuries and deaths that occur due to drunk driving each year, juries are often inclined to come down very hard on someone they view as a repeat offender.

Punishment for a second DWI offense can include:

  • Conviction of a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • Between 30 days and one year in jail
  • License suspension of between 180 days and two years
  • Mandatory alcohol and substance abuse counseling.

Keep in mind, a second DWI conviction can carry many other consequences that go beyond court penalties and jail sentences. For instance, your job prospects could be seriously affected by your loss of your driver’s license and your criminal conviction. You may also be denied financial aid for school.

Whether you receive a conviction by a jury or through a guilty plea, it will remain on your record permanently. So, if you ever get a DWI again for the rest of your life, it will be a third charge and a felony. You also must pay the State of Texas a surcharge each year just to keep your license after it is restored. This surcharge can be as high as $2,000 for up to three years. Finally, you would likely need to pay increased car insurance rates. Your premiums could skyrocket.

How Long Can You Go to Jail in Texas for a Second DWI?

In many criminal cases, a judge will allow probation in lieu of jail time. However, if your DWI is a second offense, you will have to serve a minimum of three days in a county jail cell for prior convictions older than five years, or five days of mandatory jail time if the prior offense was within the past five years.

A DWI second offense can also be challenging because prosecutors are also less willing to deal. They know the jury will likely be biased by evidence of the first DWI. Plus, prosecutors do not want to be seen as “weak on crime.”

If you get a second DWI in Texas while on probation, things can be even more complicated. First offenders in Texas typically qualify for probation. This means they are not required to spend time in jail. Instead, they are required to undergo alcohol rehabilitation and comply with a host of court-imposed requirements in order to keep their driver’s license and avoid jail.
If you get a DWI while on probation, you actually can face two separate sentences – one for the second offense DWI and another one for the case in which your probation is revoked.

Finally, if you committed a DWI with a child in your car in Texas, then you could face:

  • Potential felony charges if injuries occur
  • Fines as high as $10,000
  • Up to two years in jail
  • Required alcohol classes
  • Up to 1,000 hours of community service
  • An ignition interlock device.

Defenses to a Second DWI Offense

A second DWI charge has similar defenses to a first DWI charge. For instance, you may be able to show that the officer failed to properly administer tests or stopped your car in violation of your constitutional rights. If the evidence in a DWI cases gets suppressed, a prosecutor may be forced to drop the charge.

At Kraft & Associates, we will carefully review all of the evidence which the prosecutor plans to use against you, and we will know how to identify any weaknesses or other problems with the case. We can explain your possible defenses and provide frank advice on how to proceed. If you wish to take your case to trial, our highly skilled trial lawyers will be ready to fight for you.

Get Help from our Dallas DWI Defense Attorneys Today

At Kraft & Associates, our devoted team of trial lawyers works hard to ensure that the justice system treats our clients fairly. In many cases, our firm can help people to avoid jail time and resolve their DWI efficiently without the need for a trial. Obviously, there are times when a trial is the only option. We will look for any and all options to help you move forward with life and put your DWI arrest behind you.

The sooner you talk to a lawyer, the sooner you can avoid making critical errors when talking to police and government attorneys. We can assist you in Dallas, Fort Worth or any of the surrounding communities. To discuss your case today, call or reach us online now.