Second-offense DWI cases can be difficult to handle. The DA knows that the accused had a previous DWI conviction, and they often prosecute these cases very aggressively.
If you were charged with a DWI second, you should not risk handling your case alone. Without experienced legal representation, you could face jail time. An El Paso second-offense DWI lawyer could fight tirelessly for a positive resolution to your charges.
Is a Second-Offense DWI a Felony in TX?
DWI seconds, as they are known in Texas, are Class A misdemeanors and are still heard at the misdemeanor level. However, these are still serious charges, and they can be some of the most difficult misdemeanor cases to resolve. These cases will be heard in one of the County Courts at Law in the Bexar County Courthouse.
The potential penalties upon conviction include a minimum of 30 days in the Bexar County Jail up to a maximum of 365 days. In addition, the defendant could be required to pay up to a $4,000 fine.
How Courts Treat DWI Seconds
Prosecutors and courts are aggressive for DWI second offenses. From the very beginning of the case, the situation is more difficult for the defense. Under Texas law, if someone with a previous DWI conviction is arrested on suspicion of a second DWI, they have to start reporting to pretrial services, where they will be subject to random urinalysis tests. They typically cannot drink any alcohol while they are out on bond, and if they violate these conditions, then their bond may be revoked. Some judges actually have a curfew that the person has to adhere to as well, and they cannot go to certain places, including bars or clubs.
Additionally, the accused will have to put a deep-lung ignition interlock device on their vehicle. Unlike first offenses, these conditions are imposed without a conviction, when the accused is released on bond.
Does the Time Between DWIs Impact the Outcome of a Case?
The amount of time between DWIs does not matter in El Paso. If someone has ever been convicted of a DWI in the State of Texas, as long as the conviction was on or after January 1st, 1984, the state now has unlimited look-backs. If someone has a DWI in 1992 and then gets another in 2019, that DWI can be charged as a DWI second. However, the length of time between convictions can make a different in the penalties.
Diversion Programs and Potential Outcomes
Typically, there are no diversion programs for a DWI second. Prosecutors already know that the person has a prior conviction, and there are no programs that would allow a non-conviction diversion. However, that does not mean that cases cannot be reduced. If someone has a DWI second and the facts are good for the defense, it may be possible to reduce a charge to an obstruction of a roadway or a reckless driving charge instead.
Additionally, there are certainly cases in which suppressions can be granted or a jury could find someone not guilty of the DWI. It is important to know that during a DWI second trial, the jury will never know that the defendant has a previous conviction unless the trial moves to the punishment stage. In the sentencing stage, second-offense DWI attorneys in El Paso often elect to go to the judge and not to a jury.
Reach Out to an El Paso Second-Offense DWI Attorney
If you were arrested for a DWI second, you should not risk handling your case alone. El Paso authorities tend to prosecute these cases aggressively, and a conviction could lead to jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
For help building a strong defense, reach out to an El Paso second-offense DWI lawyer as soon as possible. A skilled defense attorney could scrutinize all the evidence against you and exploit any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Call today to schedule a consultation.