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DWI 2nd Offense in Texas (2024) – What You Need to Know

If you are facing a DWI 2nd offense in Texas, then you have already gone through the experience of being arrested, charged, and convicted of a DWI. You may be experiencing the same anxieties as the last time or remembering the consequences of your last DWI. You may have worked with a DWI lawyer in Houston, TX, or you may have wrestled through your last case with minimal assistance.

Your 2nd DWI offense will not look the same as your previous one, however. With each repeat DWI offense, the penalties are harsher, and leniency decreases. Although the categories of penalties usually remain the same, the lengths of times and amounts of fees increase. This makes it more crucial to work with a competent lawyer who will take up your case and vigorously fight on your behalf.

Differences Between a 1st and 2nd DWI Offense

While you already know about DWI convictions from your last situation, you may be wondering what the differences between your last conviction and a possible second conviction would be. Differences include:

  • Length of Jail Time: A 2nd DWI offense requires a minimum of 72 hours in jail and caps at one year of time away from your family and loved ones.
  • Fines: 2nd DWI offenses have double the maximum of 1st time DWI offenses, with fines of up to $4,000. This does not include any additional penalties or fees or include costs associated with damages from any accidents caused.
  • Severity of Charges: While a first-time DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor, unless your BAC is particularly elevated, a second DWI is counted as a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanors are the most serious type of misdemeanor and are even more undesirable to have on your record.
  • Length of License Suspension: While you will still have the chance to contest your license suspension with the DMV in the first 15 days after you receive the notice, it is possible that your license will be suspended for up to 2 years.
  • Record Availability to the Public: Second Chance Laws make it possible to hide a first DWI from the public eye. Although it is not removed from your record and is still accessible to law enforcement and court systems, you are protected from negative impacts such as being denied a lease based on your criminal history. Your 2nd DWI will not be hidden from landlords, employers, or others who run a background check on you.
  • Leniency: A repeat offense is viewed unfavorably by the Texas judicial system, and therefore, it is less likely to get jail time commuted to probation or to have your charges reduced. The more DWI offenses you accumulate, the more reliant you will become on finding a DWI lawyer who can assist you.

Other differences include the length of time you may be required to take alcohol education classes, a requirement of an IDD in your vehicle, and extra fees to reinstate/retain your Texas driver’s license. None of these take into account the potential social, financial, and practical implications of having a second offense on your record, which can also change with a 2nd DWI incident.

Other Exacerbating Factors in Your DWI Case

Beyond repeat offenses exacerbating your DWI case, other factors may also increase the severity of your situation. If you were driving with a minor under 15 years of age, your DWI case will become a felony case. If you injured other people as a result of your DWI, you will also face felony charges.

Your cooperation with police officers, your BAC at the time of the arrest, whether you were on probation, and other factors also play into the seriousness with which the court will treat your case.


Q: Is Jail Time Mandatory for a 2nd DWI in Texas?

A: Jail time is mandatory for a 2nd DWI, but that being said, a judge may choose to commute the majority of jail time to probation, or you may have reduced jail time for other reasons. If your charges are reduced or if they are dropped entirely, you may not need to serve time in jail. The amount of time a judge requires you to spend in jail can range from a minimum of three days to a maximum of a year.

Q: Can a 2nd DWI Be Reduced in Texas?

A: Yes, a 2nd DWI can be reduced in Texas, particularly with strong legal support. A seasoned lawyer can help you examine your case thoroughly and look at a plea bargain with you. Getting your DWI charges reduced or completely dropped is the optimal outcome for your 2nd DWI.

Q: What Is the Bond for a Second DWI in Texas?

A: One non-negotiable bond for a second DWI in Texas is an Ignition Interlock Device (IID). These devices function as breathalyzers that are installed in any vehicle or vehicle you are planning to drive and will prevent you from driving if it registers you as being intoxicated. You will not be released from custody unless you agree to install an IID in your vehicle.

Q: What Is the Second Chance Law in Texas?

A: The Second Chance Law is a way to minimize the consequences of a first-time, minor criminal offense by sealing your criminal record. First-time DWI offenses are often eligible to be removed from the public eye so that they will not impact job opportunities, housing options, and other daily necessities.

If you are in the midst of a 2nd DWI offense, however, this law will not be able to assist you. Repeat offenses will remain available to the public, such as when an employer runs a background check.

Finding yourself back in the court system for another DWI can be overwhelming. You have already experienced some of the consequences that can result from a DWI, but the stakes are even higher this time.

If you are dealing with a 2nd DWI charge and are feeling concerned or anxious, finding a qualified DWI lawyer can help give you confidence and reassurance. You cannot undo the situation you find yourself in, but you can better handle your case with the advice and advocacy of a professional. At the Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC, we want to use our experience to give you greater peace of mind and fight for you. Reach out to us today.

Law Office of Joseph Ruiz, PLLC