Is A Second DWI A Felony Or Misdemeanor in Texas

Is A Second DWI A Felony Or Misdemeanor in Texas?

Texas is a state that takes driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs very seriously. If you have a previous record of arrest for a DWI/DUI, working with an attorney is your best option moving forward in your case. Read below to learn more about the legal process following a secondary DWI arrest in Texas:

Administrative Penalties

If you’re lawfully arrested in Texas for DWI within ten years of a previous alcohol or drug-related “enforcement contact” (like a prior DWI or refusal to submit to chemical testing) the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can impose enhanced driver’s license suspensions and fees—regardless of whether you’re ultimately convicted of a DWI. When you fail or refuse a chemical test (see below), the arresting agency will confiscate your license, and you have 15 days from the date of arrest to contest the suspension. If you don’t notify the DMV within this timeframe that you want to contest the suspension, your license will remain suspended for 12 months starting the 41st day after your arrest.

If you fail a chemical test (have a BAC of .08% or more), your suspension will be for one year. If, on the other hand, you refuse a test in violation of Texas’s implied consent laws, the DMV will suspend your license for two years. The DMV suspension will be set aside only if you are ultimately acquitted of DWI in criminal court.

As a condition of release from jail, the judge will make you install an ignition interlock device (IID) on any vehicle you drive. During your administrative license suspension, you can immediately obtain an “occupational license” if you have not received any previous alcohol-related license suspensions within the preceding five years. An occupation license is for driving only to and from places like work, school, and places necessary to accomplish essential household duties. If you have received a license suspension within the preceding five years for a drug or alcohol-related contact with law enforcement, there’s an initial 90 day “hard suspension” period during which you won’t be able to drive at all. And if your law enforcement contact was within the preceding five years, your hard suspension increases to 180 days. Additionally, an occupational license is only available once in a 10-year period.

Texas also imposes an annual DMV license surcharge of $1,500 per year for three years. The annual fee increases to $2,000 if your BAC was measured at .16% or more.

Criminal Penalties

A second DWI in Texas is a class A misdemeanor. The penalties generally include 30 days to one year in jail. There is no “lookback period” which means that any prior DWI or BWI (boating while intoxicated) conviction, no matter how old, will count as a prior conviction.

Fines cannot exceed $4,000, but a variety of fees and “penalty assessments” will significantly increase the amount you actually pay. Convicted motorists also face up to two years of probation and having to complete a DWI education class, a substance abuse evaluation and/or rehabilitation program, 80 to 200 hours of community service, and possibly having to attend a DWI Impact Panel. You will be required to put an IID on your vehicle while your charges are pending and will not be allowed to drive any vehicle without an IID for one year following the reinstatement of your license.


How Much Time Would You Actually Spend in Jail?

Sentencing law is complex. For example, a statute might list a “minimum” jail sentence that’s longer than the actual amount of time (if any) a defendant will have to spend behind bars. All kinds of factors can affect actual punishment, including credits for good in-custody behavior, “suspended” sentences, and jail-alternative work programs.

If you face criminal charges, consult an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An attorney with command of the rules in your jurisdiction will be able to explain the law as it applies to your situation.


How Can I Avoid Jail After A Second DWI?

Working with an experienced DWI attorney is your best option when it comes to minimizing the consequences of a second DWI arrest. Attorney Lanease Fuller is an established attorney serving Houston and surrounding cities throughout Texas. She has decades of experience helping her clients that are facing alcohol and drug-related charges get the best results in their criminal cases. Our legal team understands that making a mistake does not make you a bad person. We want to help you put this behind you without losing your freedom or having serious consequences to your record. Call our law office today to learn more about how we can help you fight your second DWI charge in Texas.


Second DWI Attorney in Houston

Attorney Fuller is a seasoned attorney with nearly three decades of experience representing a wide range of clients. This includes individuals who have suffered an injury due to another’s actions, individuals facing criminal charges, those who have been arrested for DWI, individuals who have found themselves in a civil litigation dispute, and those looking for legal guidance in business.

After filling out a client intake form, Attorney Lanease D. Fuller will take appropriate action in your case to help you get the results you are looking for. This includes but not limited to gathering evidence, going to trial, and earning a settlement that is appropriate for your specific situation. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards settling your case.


4615 S. Frwy St. 820
Houston, TX 77051
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