With Texas routinely ranking among the states with prevalent drunk driving, and over 32% of annual DWI arrests in the state accounting for second offenders, it is clear that many Lone Star State residents don’t fully grasp how life-altering a DWI conviction can be. Regardless of whether you’ve injured somebody or are responsible for an accident a second DWI conviction in Texas comes with staggering penalties and long-lasting consequences and, unlike a first-time DWI you cannot expect any leniency or compassion from the judge or prosecution. Here are some of the harsh impacts you can anticipate if you’re charged and convicted of a second dui Texas.
Jail Time: One of the first things you can expect when charged with a second DWI is to spend a few days in jail. While jail time is not mandatory for first-time offenders, second-time offenders can expect to spend at least 72 hours in jail. Depending on the circumstances of your offense and the help (or lack thereof) a DWI attorney can provide, some second-timers can face an entire year in jail.
In addition to a mandatory minimum jail sentence, those who are convicted of a second DWI are not eligible for deferred adjudication. This means that the only way to avoid jail time and a tarnished criminal record is to bank on an experienced (and often incredibly expensive) DWI attorney.
Fees: While being convicted of a second DWI in Texas will run you up to $4,000 in fines alone, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the total amount of fees you will be facing if convicted. An average DWI lawyer can easily charge $5,000 to $10,000 to represent your case and even more if you’re facing complicated charges and going to a trial. If you’re found guilty, you will also have to pay for the costs of appearing in front of a judge, an annual $1,500 surcharge (for three years) on your license, a spiked car insurance rate, and the conditions of parole such as community service, an ignition interlocking device, and alcohol education courses. With the Texas Department of Transportation estimating that a first-time DWI can cost upwards of $24,000, it goes without saying that a second DWI in Texas can cause financial turmoil for those with low income.
Enhanced Administrative License Revocation: While all Texas DWI charges are subject to ALR, if you’ve been charged with a second DWI don’t expect to be driving any time soon. Administrative License Revocation for a second offense lasts one year and can be extended to two years for those who are on their second refusal of a chemical test. Additionally, if your second DWI falls within five years of your first, you will have to wait a year to apply for an occupational license, which would allow restricted driving to work, school, and for the performance of essential household duties.
On top of paying the $125 fee to reinstate your driver’s license and annual surcharge, when you’re finally able to drive again, you can expect to have an ignition interlock device installed in all of your vehicles. For a second DWI, an ignition interlock is typically installed for an entire year and can result in an additional misdemeanor if used while intoxicated or tampered with.
Probation: Despite the possibility of avoiding probation for first-time DWI offenses, you are likely to spend two years on probation for a second DWI. In addition to attending community service, education courses, and victim impact panels, DWI probation can be incredibly restrictive and include random house searches and drug tests, maintaining employment, and restrictions on whether you can travel or move residences.
Further Consequences: With second-time DWIs ineligible for Orders of Nondisclosure, if convicted you will face the consequences of a criminal record for the rest of your life. Not only will a criminal record disqualify you from a variety of jobs and potential housing, those charged with a second DWI are barred from obtaining a firearms license due to being considered “chemically dependent” under Texas law. Additionally, if you’re a Texas student convicted of a second DWI you can potentially lose your scholarships and put federal financial aid in jeopardy. With the slew of negative consequences associated with a second DWI conviction, you’re better off avoiding drinking and driving altogether.