Facing Your Second DWI Charge In Texas?
If you are a Texas resident and are facing your second DWI charge, you should have some understanding of how the legal system in this state operates for a second intoxication offense. From the beginning, you should understand that a second DWI charge is a serious offense as Texas deals harshly with second intoxication offenses. Some of the strictest and toughest judges and law enforcement officers in the country are based here in Texas, which means that the punishment for a second DWI can be severe. If this is your second DWI charge, you can expect more serious consequences the second time around.
If you are facing these charges for a second time, it is important that you understand the consequences of a second DWI charge and what can be done to improve your situation. Call the Peugh Law Firm for a free consultation.
Consequences of a second DWI charge
Texas does not classify a second DWI offense as a felony, classifying it instead as a Class A misdemeanor. This means the consequences of your DWI charge will be more serious than they were with your first DWI charge. You may have thought that your initial DWI penalties were serious, but in Texas, you will find that the penalties for a second charge are much worse.
For example, the fines associated with a second DWI charge will be twice the amount of your first offense. Rather than paying upwards of $2,000 in fines, you’ll be paying close to $4,000. Even more distressing is the fact that a second DWI charge comes with a mandatory jail sentence of 3 days. It is possible, however, that your sentence will be even longer than that. You could be spending up to one year in jail, which is twice the maximum sentence for a first DWI charge. Something you should also consider is that a third DWI offense will be considered a felony, which comes with even harsher penalties.
In addition to the penalties and consequences listed above, you may have to install an ignition interlock device on your car, which can cost thousands of dollars based on the price of the device and cost of installation. You may also be required to participate in drug and alcohol educational programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Finally, your driver’s license could also be suspended for up to two years. While it may be possible for you to keep your driver’s license, you may not be able to maintain your license unless you pay a fine of $2,000 yearly for a three-year period.
Although all these penalties are also a possibility for a first-time DWI offense, you are more likely to receive the maximum punishment if you are charged with a second DWI. For example, a first time DWI conviction will likely result in the suspension of your driver’s license for six months. If you’ve convicted a second time, however, it is much more likely that you will be facing the maximum punishment for your offense.
The consequences of a second DWI can last a lifetime, as Texas does not allow record sealing for people that have been convicted of a second DWI. This means that the DWI charge is permanent and will remain on your criminal record.
What to do if you are charged with a second DWI
If you are a Texas resident facing a second DWI charge, it is essential that you get in touch with an experienced and competent DWI lawyer to help you navigate the legal system and make sure you understand your options. Put simply, the help of a skilled attorney can lead to a more favorable outcome for your case. Therefore, it is important that you have this helping hand from the beginning of your case.
It is no easy to persuade a judge or jury to deliver a favorable verdict when someone has been charged with a second DWI charge. People are more likely to make judgments when they hear that you already have a DWI conviction. This is why you need an attorney that will build a strong case on your behalf by gathering evidence to support that case.
It is important to understand that a guilty verdict is not inevitable in a second DWI case. The judge or jury still needs to find that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is where a skilled and experienced attorney can be vital to your case. Your DWI attorney can call into question the strength of the evidence against you and further bolster your position. For example, your DWI attorney can challenge the veracity of a specimen collection (blood or breath) during your arrest.