Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious offense which can lead to severe penalties. However, if this is your second DWI you should expect Texas courts to be unforgiving. The courts tend to view first-time DWI charges as an uncharacteristic lapse of judgement made by ordinary responsible citizens. Offenders with multiple DWI convictions usually don’t get the same kind treatment.
If you have been charged with a second DWI, it’s imperative you gain legal representation. Texas has no “lookback period,” meaning any prior DWI conviction can be used to enhance your penalties. Even if the event happened decades ago. It’s important you’re prepared for what may happen next. Don’t agonize over this for another moment and contact an criminal defense attorney at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..
Attorneys for Second DWI Charges in Houston, Texas
If you’re charged with DWI and have a prior DWI conviction, then your charges will be reclassified to a higher-level offense. You’ll face a class A misdemeanor which can result in a lengthy jail term. To avoid this, it’s highly recommended you contact an experienced attorney.
The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. have years of experience with DWI law. We are passionate about defending our client’s rights. Our attorneys will guide you every step of the way through the legal process. Let us help you move on from this nightmare. Contact the Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case evaluation. We defend clients throughout the greater Houston area including Tomball, Pasadena, Bellaire and Uptown.
Overview of Second DWI Charges in Texas
- What is an DWI in Texas?
- Second DWI Penalties in Texas
- Ignition Interlock Devices
- Additional Resources
What is an DWI in Texas?
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious traffic offense found under Texas Penal Code § 49.04. The prosecution must prove you did the following to obtain a DWI conviction:
- You were driving a motor vehicle on public roads; and
- You had a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher OR your physical and mental faculties were impaired due to drugs or alcohol
The majority of police officers will use BAC to determine if you’re impaired. Law enforcement will use chemical testing to measure the amount of alcohol in your system. These tests include breath analysis, blood analysis, and urinalysis.
Texas Penal Code § 49.01 measures alcohol concentration by number of grams of alcohol per:
- 100 milliliters of blood;
- 210 liters of breath; or
- 67 milliliters of urine
The legal limits under Texas law are:
- .08 BAC for a non-commercial driver at or over the age of 21;
- .04 BAC for a commercial driver over at or over the age of 21; and
- .02 BAC for a non-commercial driver under the age of 21
Blood-alcohol concentration can be tricky to measure accurately. The legal limit isn’t an accurate portrayal of impairment for everyone. BAC can be influenced by a variety of factors such as weight, metabolism or age. Some people barely feel the effects of alcohol at .08, while others may be extremely inebriated before they even reach the legal limit.
Law enforcement also use field sobriety testing to assess your impairment level. These are a series of physical exercises which test your mental and physical faculties. You may see a multitude of field sobriety tests online, but only three have been standardized by the National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration (NHTSA).
Field sobriety testing is also flawed in many ways. The tests are universal and don’t consider a person’s age or physical ability. They also can be influenced by external factors including weather, the time of day or even the lighting. Because of this, the results from field sobriety testing could be misleading.
Second DWI Penalties in Texas
Texas determines DWI penalties by your criminal history and the circumstance of the crime. People with multiple DWI convictions should expect harsher penalties. A second DWI is a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- A possible fine of up to $4,000;
- Up to 200 hours of community service;
- Completion of a 12-hour DWI Course;
- License suspension for up to two years;
- Community supervision for up to 12 months;
- Annual surcharge by DPS for three years of up to $2,000
- Installation of an ignition interlock device; and
- Minimum of 27 hours in jail and a maximum of 12 months in jail
The crime will be reclassified as a state jail felony if you drove intoxicated with a child passenger. A state jail felony is punishable by:
- Up to 24 months in state jail; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000
Ignition Interlock Devices for DWI
If you’re convicted of a second DWI, then it’s likely the judge will court-order you to install an ignition interlock device. You will also be required to pay the full cost of the installation. An ignition interlock device (IID) functions similarly to a breathalyzer, but it’s connected to your vehicle’s engine. The device will require you to measure your BAC if you want to turn on your motor vehicle.
The purpose of an ignition interlock device is to deter you from driving intoxicated again. If you blow into the device at or above .08, then the vehicle will be locked from use. Usually, the device will log the event internally to send it to law enforcement. The instrument also prevents other people from blowing for you with a “rolling re-test.”
A rolling-retest is when your IID will signal you for random re-testing while driving. If alcohol is detected the device will not turn off while the car is moving. Instead it will signal you by blowing the horn and flashing the headlights excessively.
DWI Laws in Texas – Visit the official website of the Texas Penal Code to learn more about driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses. Access the statute to learn the charge specifics, penalties and possible enhancements for DWI.
Alcohol-Related Offenses – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to learn more about alcohol-related offenses. Access the site to learn how DWI law applies to minors, consequences for commercial drivers and how to reinstate your license after an alcohol-related offense.
Lawyer for 2nd DWI in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with a second DWI, it’s crucial you act now. You’re going to need quality legal representation to fight these charges. A conviction could land you with expensive fines, community service, an IID and even jail time.
Call the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. now for a strong DWI defense. We strive to assist our clients through efficient and formidable legal service. Contact us at (713) 224-5529 to start the first steps of your defense today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County are including River Oaks, Pasadena, Bellaire and Houston.
This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.