Repeat Offense DWI – 2nd (Class A Misdemeanor)
If you find yourself charged with a second DWI offense, it will be a wholly different dynamic for you. To begin with, the punishment range is no longer a Class B misdemeanor, but rather a Class A Misdemeanor. You will be prosecuted much more vigorously because they know this is not your first DWI any longer. You will be perceived as a person with a drinking problem. Worse yet, you are a person with a drinking and driving problem. The prosecuting attorneys will want this conviction more than your first one because they want to set you up for your next DWI arrest which will be a felony DWI charge.
Having a DWI-2nd charge makes everything harder in your case. DA’s are very reluctant to dismiss your case, even if it is a good case for the defense. Often times they would rather try your case to a jury (even if it means they will lose) because they do not want to be seen as soft on repeat offenders for DWI. M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Drivers) have a very formidable presence in the Harris County Justice System. They routinely show up in Court and monitor the action for all persons charged with DWI. They want to see how many DWI cases are being dismissed and how many of them are pleading guilty. This show of force can be very intimidating for young prosecutors who are too afraid to do the right thing and dismiss a case that may not be a good case for them. More often than not, they will allow that case to go to trial, knowing they may end up losing. Their reasoning is simple: even if they lose the case, at least politically the DA’s office can save face with M.A.D.D. and the DA will not come under fire for dismissing DWI repeat offender cases.
This then begs the question you should have picked up on by now – do you have a lawyer who is qualified to take this case to trial and actually do a good job representing and fighting for you in trial? If you do not have a DWI Trial lawyer, then I fear you are going to come to that crossroad in your case where you will ultimately be faced with pleading guilty because your attorney never planned to take your case to trial because he/she is not equipped to try DWI cases, or else you will be forced to hire a new attorney who does handle DWI cases in trial. Most people would rather not lose all the money they have spent thus far, and therefore they end up pleading guilty instead of fighting their case.
The punishment for a second DWI is essentially double from that of a DWI-1st offense. Your potential jail sentence doubles from six (6) months to one (1) year in the county jail and your fine doubles from $2,000.00 to $4,000.00. Not to mention if you are on probation you are faced with additional community service hours, a DWI education course for repeat offenders and likely an ignition interlock device installed in your car. Not to mention that your driver’s license suspension will be suspended for a longer period of time.
Typical Probation Conditions For a Repeat Offender DWI
|Second DWI Conviction||License suspension, 180 days to two years You must serve part of your jail sentence (five days as a condition if last DWI conviction was within five years of the date of this offense, otherwise, 72 hours of confinement)|
|Class A misdemeanor||Community service, 80 to 200 hours
Ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle
No Drinking Alcohol
Repeat Offender DWI Education Course
Drug and Alcohol Evaluation
Texas DPS Surcharges
If you feel like you have been shaken down for money from the beginning of this whole ordeal, it is about to get worse. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) assesses an annual surcharge for anyone convicted of a DWI. For a first-time DWI conviction, the surcharge you will be assessed is $1,000.00 a year for three years.
For any subsequent DWI conviction the surcharge increases to $1,500.00 a year for three years. Additionally, if you have a registered BrAC or BAC of .16 or higher you will receive a $2,000.00 surcharge each year for three years.
This surcharge must be paid in order for your driving privileges to remain intact (whether or not you license was suspended as a result of the DWI conviction). A Houston DWI defense lawyer understands the issues with surcharges and all other things related to your driver’s license. The attorneys at Greco Neyland, PC understand the entire picture for each client facing DWI charges. You have a lot more to worry about besides just the criminal charge itself.