Individuals who have previously been convicted of DWI or related offenses often face higher-level charges with more severe penalties than first-offenders. Since Texas has no limit on how far prosecutors can look back to find a previous DWI conviction, the consequences for a second-offense DWI can seem unduly harsh.
Fortunately, a Fort Worth second-offense DWI lawyer may be able to help you fight back against your charges and the consequences of a second-time conviction. Various defenses may apply in your DWI case, but identifying and effectively presenting them in court may require the knowledge and experience of a criminal defense attorney.
Second-Offense DWI Penalties in Fort Worth
A second DWI charge under Texas Penal Code § 49.09 is a Class A misdemeanor. This offense carries the potential for a one-year jail sentence and a fine of up to $4,000. Additionally, a second conviction for DWI requires a minimum jail sentence of 30 days. This is the case no matter how long ago the first offense occurred.
Enhanced sentencing for second-time DWI charges may apply whether the previous offense was for DWI, flying or boating while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated. A second-offense DWI lawyer in Fort Worth may be able to further explain the possible penalties for a second-offense DWI conviction.
Additional Sanctions for Second Offenses
Although sentencing orders for second-offense DWI convictions vary from one court to the next, judges have a range of penalties that they can impose. For a second-time DWI conviction, they are often more likely to impose additional penalties.
These sanctions can include community service hours to be completed within a certain timeframe, periodic drug and alcohol testing, and time spent under the supervision of a probation officer. Judges may also order individuals to undergo substance abuse assessments, complete any recommended substance abuse treatment, participate in education courses, or attend a victim impact panel.
Financial Costs of Second-Time DWI Convictions
As a second-offense DWI attorney in Fort Worth may advise, some of the most severe penalties of a conviction are not those that the judge orders at sentencing. These collateral consequences can be extremely costly and cause significant financial hardship.
A second DWI offense will result in a suspension of driving privileges for a period ranging from 180 days to two years. Various factors affect the duration of the suspension and eligibility for a restricted license, including the refusal to take a blood alcohol content (BAC) test at a traffic stop, history of previous refusals and DWI convictions, and age of the driver. A license suspension can result in an inability to work, making it difficult to meet financial obligations.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) also assesses various fees, such as a license reinstatement fee and an ignition interlock restricted license fee. The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) and monthly service fees also are expensive. Additionally, those convicted of DWI must pay thousands of dollars in annual surcharges for three years after the offense occurs.
A Fort Worth Second-Offense DWI Attorney Can Help
If you were arrested for driving while intoxicated, consider contacting a Fort Worth second-offense DWI lawyer for advice. With legal representation, you may be able to achieve a more positive resolution of the charges that you are facing.
Rather than trying to navigate a confusing criminal justice system on your own, enlist the assistance of legal counsel to guide you throughout any proceedings. Reach out to an attorney today to set up an initial case review.