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Why Repeat DWI Offenders Need Immediate Legal Help

Updated: May 31, 2024 @ 12:39 am

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

Any DWI arrest—even a first offense—is cause for concern. The state has mandatory jail time for all first-time offenders, with at least 72 hours behind bars. But any subsequent offense is even greater cause for concern. Texas brings the hammer down on repeat offenders, and you need an experienced DWI defense attorney to help you avoid the harshest penalties. Once you have a prior DWI on your record, it’s much harder to get a generous plea deal. You could be facing years in prison.

What Counts as a Prior DWI Offense?

You will be considered a repeat offender if you have any DWI offense on your record. This can be a conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault, or Intoxication Manslaughter.

Also, Texas will consider an out-of-state DWI offense as a prior. Drunk driving goes by different names in different states. Some states call it Driving under the Influence (DUI) or even Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). Whatever the label, it will count as a prior DWI in Texas if it was a drunk driving offense.

Texas DWI Defense Lawyer Tad Nelson

Stiffer Penalties for Repeat Offenses

A first-time DWI is usually a Class B misdemeanor unless you had an aggravating factor. Once you pick up a second DWI, however, you can expect much harsher penalties. In fact, it’s not unusual to receive the maximum penalties for second or third DWI offenses:

  • More Time Behind Bars. A second DWI can result in up to a year in jail, while a third is a felony which can send you to the clinker for 2-10 years.
  • Extended Probation. You could end up having a longer probation, which means having to follow the court’s conditions to avoid being sent to jail.
  • Larger Criminal Fines. Defendants will need to pay a criminal fine when convicted. A second DWI carries a maximum $4,000 fine, with a third DWI possibly results in a fine of $10,000.
  • Increased State Fines. DWI defendants will also have to pay additional fines if convicted. A second DWI results in paying $1,500 for three years, whereas a third DWI can result in $2,000 for three years. The costs really add up!
  • Extended License Suspension. A repeat offender will lose their license for a longer period. A second or third DWI can result in a 2-year suspension.
  • Ignition Interlock Device. You can end up having this device on your vehicle for longer after a repeat DWI offense. You won’t be able to start your car until you blow into the device.

These are some of the increases in penalties that a repeat offender will face. Your best bet is to quickly reach out to attorney Tad Nelson to discuss your arrest and any previous DWI offenses, whether in Texas or from away. As you can see, even a single DWI from the past could result in much stiffer penalties.

Why These Are Tough Cases to Defend

With a first-time DWI, a defendant has options. We might negotiate for a favorable plea deal, reducing the charge to a traffic offense. We might even see if you qualify for deferred adjudication, where you serve probation and, if successful, your case is dismissed. That will help you avoid a conviction and allows you to stay in the community instead of spending time in jail.

You have fewer options if you have prior offenses. Prosecutors understand people make one mistake. They are less charitable if you have a pattern of mistakes. Depending on your history, a prosecutor might not even be open to a plea deal. They could even ask a judge for the mandatory jail or prison sentence.

Our goal as your attorneys is to get the best result possible for your DWI case. For example, we might:

  • Attack the validity of the chemical evidence, such as breath test results;
  • Question the constitutional basis for the stop or arrest;
  • Raise doubt about whether you were even driving the vehicle.

You should call our firm so we can begin reviewing all evidence.

You Need an Experienced Lawyer

Tad Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law in Texas. This is a rare honor and testifies to his experience in the field. Attorney Nelson is also certified on the most common breath analyzers, which allows him to identify flaws in the machines and the results.

It’s possible to beat a DWI, even as an alleged repeat offender. However, you need a lawyer with this level of expertise to lead the charge and seek a fair result. Do not expect the state to take things lightly. Call to schedule a consultation.

Houston DWI Lawyer Tad A Nelson is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the TBLS.

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