By Collin County Criminal Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Convictions for DWI’s are like stacking bricks higher and higher. To recap, a first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas. A second DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor. The punishment range is between 72 hours of jail and 365 days, an/or a fine between $0 and $4,000.
A 2nd DWI means that you’ve been convicted of the first — regardless of how long ago that may have been.
Like a 1st DWI, probation is often the result of a conviction for a 2nd DWI — but clearly there is more jeopardy involved in a 2nd offense. The maximum probation is 2 years and the probation itself gets stickier. For example, in Texas we have what is called jail as “a term and condition” of probation. What this means is that the Judge can send you to jail for up to 30 days as a part of your probation. The minimum community service for a 2nd DWI is 80 hours.
Additionally, the Judge is required to place an interlock device on your car when you are originally released on bond from jail in the case while you await trial. You can expect it to stay on during probation with a conviction.
As for driver’s license suspensions — the term of the suspension increases to 2 years (from the max of 180 days). A person can qualify for an occupational license to assist them in driving to work, however, if the 2nd DWI was within 5 years of previous law enforcement contact involving alcohol, then the person doesn’t qualify for the occupational for 180 days after the suspension begins. This is what DWI lawyers in Dallas and Collin Counties call a “hard suspension.” It means no driving for six months.
Also the surcharge is $1,500 per year for 3 years. Again, the surcharge is $2,000 for a breath test score over 0.16 for 3 years.
In Texas, some County Courts at Law have DWI programs for 2nd time DWI convictions. In Collin County they have courts with intensive treatment but that offer some incentives to join the program such as lesser fines.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas. This article is not intended to be legal advice. For legal advice you should consult an attorney.