Yes, jail time is mandatory for a 2nd DWI conviction in Texas. Although it is possible to avoid jail time after a 1st DWI conviction, a 2nd DWI comes with a minimum of 72 hours in jail, although you could be forced to serve up to 1 year in jail for this charge.
If you have already been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you know the penalties include fines, license suspensions, and jail time. As a general rule, the more convictions you have, the more serious the punishments.
If you are able to have the charges against you dropped or reduced, you may not have to serve jail time for a 2nd DWI. A criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you fight for this outcome.
DWI Penalties in Texas
Texas law takes drinking and driving very seriously. Even a single offense has a big impact on your life, but 2nd and 3rd offenses can be truly life-altering.
A 2nd DWI offense is classified under Texas law as a Class A misdemeanor, per the Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS). This charge means, if convicted, you could face the following punishments:
- A maximum fine of $4,000
- A maximum license suspension of 2 years
- A maximum jail sentence of 1 year
- A mandatory minimum 3-day stay in jail
For a 3rd DWI offense, the charge elevates to a third-degree felony, and you may face:
- A maximum fine up to $10,000
- A maximum license suspension of 2 years
- 2 to 10 years of prison time
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), in addition to the penalties listed above, you could face additional state fines.
The above penalties are accurate only if your conviction is not complicated by other charges. For example, if you received a DWI while driving with a child under the age of 15, you may also be charged with child endangerment. If your DWI involved an accident that injured someone, your charges may be increased to a felony.
Even after you serve out your sentence and return to your normal life, your conviction(s) can continue to have an impact. A DWI conviction may become part of your public record, which could impact your ability to find a job, get into the school of your choice, or rent a house or apartment.
Working with a Lawyer on Your 2nd DWI Case
No matter what you have been charged with, everyone in America is entitled to certain civil rights. If you hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you, they may be able to advocate for you in the following ways:
Investigating Your Arrest
Sometimes, police officers do not follow the rules. Improper police conduct can have huge implications for your case. For instance, if a lawyer can demonstrate that the arresting officer did not have a valid reason for pulling you over or did not follow proper procedure when administering a breathalyzer test, your case may not stand up in court.
Getting the Charges Dismissed or Reduced
A dismissal is the best-case scenario. A lawyer might be able to accomplish this through the means described above.
If a dismissal is not possible, your lawyer may be able to argue for reduced charges and penalties instead.
Representing You in Court
If your case does go to trial, you may feel better knowing that you have a lawyer to fight on your behalf and that you do not have to face a judge and the other party’s legal team all by yourself. Your lawyer can submit evidence, deliver oral arguments, and prepare you for court.
Demystifying the Legal Process
The law is complicated. Your lawyer can explain your options and set honest expectations of how your case may go. Having a better understanding of what is happening may put your mind at ease.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Can Help You
Because jail time is mandatory for a 2nd DWI in Texas, you may want to do everything possible to protect your rights. One step you can take is hiring a lawyer.
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg represents individuals charged with DWI in Dallas-Fort Worth and the surrounding areas. Our lead attorney Randall B. Isenberg has over 30 years of legal experience that includes careers as a former prosecutor and state district judge. Today, his firm is dedicated to criminal defense.
For a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253.