Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I was arrested for my second Texas DWI. I am twenty-two years old, and I am going to college next month. I am concerned that I will be sent to jail. Can you tell me what I need to know about a second Texas DWI arrest and the potential penalties I might face?”
Overview of Texas DWI
It is illegal in every state, including Texas, to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. It’s also illegal to operate a motorized vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system if you are not safely able to operate your car.
You did not mention what evidence the state has against you or whether your BAC was above the legal limit, but in many cases, if the state has a legal BAC reading and it’s well above the legal limit there’s a high chance you will be convicted of a second Texas DWI.
Review the look back laws in Texas
Another consideration, which you didn’t specifically mention but which is important, is the time of your first Texas DWI arrest. You mentioned this was your second DWI, but if your first Texas DWI arrest was more than 10 years ago there is a chance that this could be your first Texas DWI. Since you did not specify, however, we’ll assume this is your second Texas DWI and address the penalties you could face if convicted.
Penalties for second DWI in Texas
If you have been arrested for a second drunk driving offense and your last Texas DWI was within 10 years, you could be facing the following DWI penalties:
- Payment of a DWI fine up to $4,000 ($10,000 if child under the age of 15 is in the car)
- Jail term of 72 hours up to 1 year
- License suspension for 180 days to 2 years
- Possible installation of an ignition interlock device
- Addition insurance requirements (Texas SR22 insurance)
- DWI surcharge $1,500 per year for 3 years
Will I go to jail for second Texas DWI?
If you are convicted of a second Texas DWI you will generally be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor, assuming no one is injured or killed and there are no other aggravating factors.
As mentioned above, jail time ranges from 72 hours up to 365 days. Although you might not spend too much time in jail, in some cases, jail is a term and condition of probation, and a judge might send you to jail for up to 30 days as a part of your probation.
In other cases, a judge may sentence you to the mandatory 72 hours jail time for probation. In Dallas county, for example, a typical DWI 2nd plea bargain might be 180 days in jail, probated for two years.
What do I do now?
Given that you are likely to face potential jail time and high fines and other penalties if you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, it’s important to take the right steps following the DWI charge. Talk to a DWI lawyer. Discuss the evidence the state has against you and find out if you should fight the charges or make a plea deal.
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