All About Multiple DWI Arrests in Texas

Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas is a serious offense. Offenders are met with harsh penalties and consequences that rise in severity with each subsequent DWI. 

Multiple DWIs in Texas can lead to a felony conviction, up to $10,000 in fines, and imprisonment. Combined with legal penalties, and the stigma that comes with DWI convictions, the collateral consequence of multiple DWIs can have a devastating, life-altering impact on your social status, career, housing, and family life.

If you or a loved one are facing DWI charges, call Michael & Associates now to arrange a free case review.

In this guide, we’ll cover the laws, penalties, and consequences associated with multiple DWI arrests in Texas. 

DWI Laws and Consequences in Texas

DWI is described in the Intoxication and Alcoholic Beverage Offenses chapter of the Texas Penal Code.

According to the law, “…a person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place.”

To be deemed legally intoxicated, you must either register a Blood Alcohol Content reading of 0.08 or more or have your physical and mental abilities impaired due to drinking or taking drugs. This means you can still get arrested and charged, even without a BAC of 0.08, if the police officer has a probable cause—for example, you fail Standardised Field Sobriety Tests, have bloodshot eyes, or exhibit slurred speech.

Furthermore, you can get arrested and charged for DWI, even if your vehicle isn’t moving. The word “operated” can refer to a car running with the key in the ignition, even if it was for the radio or heating.

Remember, a DWI stays on your record forever. If you get a DWI conviction, a second DWI charge, even if it is decades in the future, will be elevated due to your criminal record.

Penalties and Sentencing for Multiple DWI Offenses in Texas

The penalties for DWI depend on the severity of the offense and whether there are previous offenses on your record. Typically, you will face harsher punishment with each subsequent violation. If your actions lead to serious bodily injury or the death of another person, you can expect to face harsher penalties.

Penalties for First DWI 

  • Class B misdemeanor
  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 1 year

Penalties for Second DWI 

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • Up to 1 year in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 2 years

Penalties for Multiple DWIs

  • Third-degree felony
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Up to 10 years in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 2 years

DWI with Child Passenger (Child Endangerment)

If you had a child (under the age of 15) in your vehicle at the time of the DWI, your charges will be elevated to a state jail felony.

For a state jail felony, you can face up to $10,000 in fines, up to two years in imprisonment, and a driver’s license suspension for two years.

Intoxication Assault

If you cause serious bodily injury as a result of driving while intoxicated, you will face Intoxication Assault charges—a third-degree felony, with the same penalties as a third or subsequent offense.

Intoxication Manslaughter

If someone dies as a result of your DWI offense, you will face Intoxication Manslaughter—a second-degree felony.

Penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Up to 20 years in prison
  • Driver’s license suspension for up to 2 years

The Long-Term Consequences of Multiple DWI Arrests

All of your DWI convictions will remain on your record permanently. Not only will they be used against you to elevate charges in the future, but they will also cause collateral consequences that will affect your day-to-day life.

One of the immediate consequences of a DWI is the costs associated with the conviction. On top of any legal fines you’re hit with in court, you’ll also be expected to pay thousands of dollars in state fines. There are also court fees, restitution fees, and legal costs to consider. DWI cases are costly, but the costs of a conviction go beyond fees and fines.

If you are convicted of a DWI, your car insurance costs will rise drastically. Furthermore, you’ll be expected to purchase an SR-22 (“high-risk coverage”) for two years from the date of your conviction. Not all insurance companies offer SR-22s, so your opportunity to shop around is reduced, too.

So far, we’ve only mentioned immediate or short-term costs, but you must remember that DWI convictions will show up whenever anybody runs a background check on you. A conviction for multiple DWIs will make you a convicted felon, which you’ll have to reveal to potential employers.

A criminal background like this will reduce your chances of securing employment. If you already have a job, you won’t be considered for promotion as much as a colleague with a clean record.

As well as affecting your career and causing financial hardship, you may experience the following collateral consequences:

  • Difficulty securing college placement
  • Ineligibility for some professional licenses
  • Negative impact on child custody and visitation rights
  • Difficulty securing rental accommodation

All of these circumstances can take a toll on your mental health, too, potentially leading to anxiety and countless sleepless nights.

Are There Different Defenses for Multiple DWI Arrests?

Just because you have been found guilty of one or even two previous DWI offenses does not mean that a third or subsequent DWI arrest must also lead to a conviction.

DWI charges, regardless of whether they are your first, second, or fifth, should always be fought against with a strategic defense case. Winning won’t be easy—it rarely is—but with help from the right criminal defense lawyer, it is entirely possible.

The Best Strategy If Charged for Multiple DWI Arrests in Texas

Regardless of whether you’ve been arrested once, twice, or multiple times, if you are facing DWI charges today, the best action you can take to protect your rights and freedoms is to contact a DWI attorney immediately.

Having the right lawyer on your side can mean the difference between a dismissal and a felony conviction.

Michael & Associates earns DWI dismissals all the time, but it takes hard work, a good strategy, and cooperation from the defendant. Don’t give up on your future! Call Michael & Associates today, or book your free case review online now.

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