A second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas – just one classification short of a felony. Furthermore, Texas has no “lookback” period – a new DWI will be charged as a second offense even if your first offense occurred 30 or more years ago. Although the maximum fine for a second-offense DWI is $4,000, the judge enjoys quite a bit of discretion concerning the exact amount – which is one of many reasons why retaining an experienced Houston DWI lawyer can result in a net savings even after you pay your legal fees.
In addition to a fine, a DWI conviction can result in many other expenses:
Driver’s License Reinstatement
If you are convicted of second-offense DWI, Texas will likely suspend your driver’s license for one year at an Administrative License Revocation Hearing (you are entitled to have an attorney present). If your license is revoked, not only will you have to pay $125 for your license reinstatement at the end of the suspension period, you will also have to pay up to $2,000 per year for three consecutive years in order to keep your license.
Adding these amounts to the maximum DWI fine of up to $4,000 totals $10,125 – enough to buy a late-model used car. Remember that $2,000 per year is maximum, not a minimum.
All second-offense DWI offenders are required to participate in a 32-hour DWI Intervention Program that will cost you hundreds of dollars. The judge may also order you to submit to a substance abuse evaluation that could lead to even more expensive programs.
Several other penalties are routinely imposed in convicted DWI offenders in Texas, including:
- 80 to 200 hours of community service
- Jail time and/or probation of one month to one year (your lost earnings alone could far exceed any other financial burden arising from a DWI)
- Court-ordered substance abuse rehabilitation at your own expense (more extensive than DWI
- Intervention Program and sometimes ordered as a substitute for jail time)
- Installation of an ignition interlock device on your car
- Higher insurance premiums and the requirement of maintaining an SR-22 (Financial Responsibility
- Insurance Certificate) for two years
- A permanent criminal record
Someone on Your Side
A good Houston DWI lawyer will be adept at employing many different defensive strategies, including:
- Challenging the legality of the DWI traffic stop on the basis of lack of reasonable suspicion
- Challenging your arrest based on lack of probable cause
- Seeking to exclude some or all of the evidence against you based on your Fourth Amendment privacy rights
- Challenging the results of a breathalyzer or blood test
- Arguing that you were not legally intoxicated while driving, but that you crossed the 0.08% threshold only after you were pulled over (the “rising curve” defense, applicable primarily to borderline cases).
Houston DWI lawyer Mario Madrid’s nearly twenty years of experience as a lawyer includes time as both a prosecutor and a judge. Unlike about 90 percent of Texas criminal lawyers, he has been certified as a specialist in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. His dedication to DWI defense was reconfirmed by his induction into the National College of DUI Defense Attorneys. If you have been arrested for DWI in the Houston area, call Madrid Law, PLLC at 713-877-9400 for a free initial consultation.