Difference Between DWI 1st and DWI 2nd in Texas

Difference Between DWI 1st and DWI 2nd in Texas
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There are quite a few differences in Texas between a first DWI versus your second DWI. The biggest difference is the punishment range. In this article, we will talk about the different consequences of getting your first DWI versus your second DWI. It’s important to understand the differences and to hire a lawyer who can walk you through the process and protect your rights.


What Are the Consequences of your 1st Texas DWI?

A 1st Texas DWI can be a Class A or a Class B misdemeanor. If your alleged alcohol concentration is 0.15 or greater, you will likely be charged with a Class A DWI. This offense carries a punishment range from 0 days to 365 days in jail and a maximum fine of $4000. If your alcohol concentration is under a 0.15, or no chemical test was administered, you will be charged with a Class B DWI. This offense carries a punishment range from 3 days to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2000. Many people do not realize that you can be charged with a DWI even if your blood alcohol concentration is below a 0.08. The State of Texas can attempt to prove a DWI by showing your blood alcohol was 0.08 or greater at the time you were operating a vehicle OR that you lost your mental and/or physical faculties due to the introduction of a substance. That substance could be anything – not just alcohol. A Class A DWI can include the requirement that you install an ignition interlock device on your car, which is a breath alcohol monitoring device that you blow in to start your car. A Class A misdemeanor can also lead to a “forever” conviction in that you will have no opportunity to seal your records at a later time. A Class B DWI conviction may be eligible to be sealed at a later date if certain requirements are met.

A DWI can impact the rest of your life. It can stay on your criminal record forever. Even if it is your first DWI, it will affect you.

What Are the Consequences of your 2nd Texas DWI?

A second DWI in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. The punishment range on a class A misdemeanor is anywhere from 0 days to 365 days in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. A 2nd DWI can come at any time after your first DWI. For example, if your first DWI was in 2005 and your 2nd was in 2020, the State can still use the 2005 DWI to enhance the 2020 DWI to a DWI 2nd.

A DWI 2nd typically requires an ignition interlock device on your car both as a condition of bond and potentially a condition of probation if you are convicted. This could last the whole probation period if you are placed on probation. If you don’t drive a car, the Court may order an alternative device to monitor any alcohol use. These devices cost money and often times get in the way of your daily activities. A second DWI conviction also carries a minimum jail sentence as a condition of probation. It is important to have a lawyer when you get a 2nd DWI who can protect your rights and fight for the best possible outcome.

What Are the Consequences of your 3rd Texas DWI … Felony?

A 3rd DWI in Texas is the most serious of the charges mentioned here. Your 3rd DWI in Texas will be a felony. It is a third-degree felony, which means the punishment range is anywhere from 2 years to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. This is obviously a serious charge. It can lead to even more life-long consequences. If you are convicted of a 3rd DWI, you will be a felon. Being a felon comes with serious consequences, as well. As a felon, you cannot legally own a gun. You also cannot vote until you are either released from probation or parole. On top of all of this, if you have been to prison once before, your 3rd DWI could be charged as a second-degree felony, making the punishment range anywhere from 2 years up to 20 years in prison. Even scarier is if you’ve been to prison two times or more. This increases the punishment range to a minimum of 25 years in prison up to life. A 3rd DWI can come with extreme consequences.

Once again, hiring a lawyer when you are charged with a 3rd DWI should be your first step. You need an experienced DWI lawyer on your team who can make sure your rights are protected and guide you through the process. This will make the tough process a little easier and give you the peace of mind that you have someone fighting for you.

Deandra Grant

Deandra M. Grant, JD, GC, MS is a 27-year criminal defense attorney and forensic consultant. She is the Managing Partner of Hamilton Grant PC’s five offices in DFW and Austin. A national speaker on DWI law, science and trial skills, as well as the co-author of the annually updated The Texas DWI Manual, Deandra is known as “The Lawyer Lawyers Call”. She’s also VP of Living the Doxie Dream Rescue and Sanctuary in Royse City. When not “lawyering”, Deandra is a wife, mom, painter, wine collector and dog rescuer.

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