A second drunk driving charge in Dallas, TX carries significantly harsher consequences than a first-time DWI. If you are facing a second DWI charge in Texas, you must choose your path carefully, if you hope to avoid significant fines, jail time, and the long-term loss of your driver’s license.
A second offense DWI lawyer in Dallas can provide critical guidance, explaining your options and rights under the law. More importantly, your lawyer can work on your behalf to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.
What constitutes DWI under Texas law?
Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code establishes the definition of intoxication as having a breath or blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or more.
Despite this clear definition, a police officer can declare you to be legally intoxicated no matter what your BAC reading may be, if she believes you exhibit sufficient signs of impairment. Those signs include the inability to use your physical or mental faculties normally after the ingestion of alcohol or drugs.
Consequently, if you to operate a motor vehicle in a public place, an officer can arrest you for DWI if you fail a BAC test or if an officer judges you to be intoxicated.
What are the consequences for a second offense Dallas DWI?
The penalties for a second offense DWI conviction increase significantly, as compared to a first-time conviction.
A first DWI conviction carries a Class B Misdemeanor charge. A second conviction qualifies as a Class A Misdemeanor.
Penalties upon conviction may include:
- A minimum of 72 hours in jail, but your sentence could be as much as 1 year
- Fines of up to $4,000 plus fees and court costs
- Probation for up to 2 years
- Between 80 and 200 hours of community service
- Substance abuse evaluation or rehab treatment
The court will require you to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle while you await trial and for the duration of your probation. You will lose your driver’s license for up to 2 years; if you have a previous DWI conviction you might be subject to a waiting period of anywhere from 90 days to 1 year. When you do qualify for a driver’s license again, you must pay a surcharge of up to $2,000 per year for 3 years.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, some second offense Texas DWI charges are elevated to a felony. Randall B. Isenberg will examine your case and determine the penalties you might be facing.
How do I get my license back?
In addition to the potential criminal penalties associated with a second Texas drunk driving conviction, you will also face administrative action from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). This civil action pertains to the suspension of your driver’s license.
Upon your arrest for drunk driving charges, the officer will confiscate your driver’s license. To fight the suspension, we must request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing within 15 days. Failure to request a hearing results in the automatic suspension of your license.
At the hearing, we will fight the Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) case to suspend your license.
Should you plead guilty or fight a second offense DWI?
You should always fight a DWI charge. A second Texas DWI conviction poses a great threat to your freedom, livelihood, and reputation.
To determine the most appropriate course of action for you, you need a full understanding of your options and the potential risks and benefits of each one. The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help you consider your options.
Generally, however, most second offense DWI charges are resolved in one of four ways.
This is the best possible outcome for a second offense DWI charge. If our team can convince the prosecutor or the judge that your charges are without merit, or that the prosecution has little chance of winning in a trial, the state may agree to drop the charges and dismiss your case.
Although less preferable than a full dismissal of your case, a plea bargain can be an effective way to lessen the long-term impact of your DWI charges. If we can negotiate a favorable plea deal, this may present a viable alternative to other options.
If we feel strongly enough that you could prevail in court, we can enter a plea of not guilty and prepare for your jury trial. For this option, you need our help to build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
The fourth option is often the worst-case scenario for a second Texas DWI offense. In this case, you admit guilt and accept the terms of sentencing handed down by the judge. In this case, your fate — and your future — lies in the hands of the judge.
Randall B. Isenberg will look into the circumstances of your case and determine the best option for you, your family, and your future. Regardless of the option, we will do what we can to avoid conviction.
Can an attorney help you overcome second offense DWI charges?
The team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, after reviewing the details of your arrest, will determine the best defense for your case. This may include looking more closely at how the officer administered field sobriety tests or chemical testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established required testing procedures and instruments that police officers must follow for BAC testing. In addition, Texas Administrative Code sets forth specific breath alcohol testing regulations. If your arrest potentially violated any of these rules, we might be able to nullify the results.
We can also look into the last time the department calibrated the breathalyzer, whether the officer calibrated it correctly, and whether that officer had proper certification and training for calibrating a breathalyzer. If not, we can get the evidence thrown out.
We will also consider include the legality of your traffic stop and whether the officer had probable cause for administering field sobriety or BAC tests. If the officer did not have probable cause, any evidence obtained will be inadmissible.
Contact a Dallas second offense DWI lawyer today.
Based on the seriousness of a second offense DWI arrest, finding an attorney is paramount to protecting your rights. In Dallas, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg offers free case reviews. Call today to schedule your consultation with Randall today: 214-696-9253.