Is It Possible to Seek a Reduction of a Second DWI in Texas?
If you have been charged with a second DWI in Texas, you likely have many questions regarding the potential outcome of your case. If convicted, you could face much more serious penalties than for your first DWI, and the ramifications could spill over into your personal and professional life even after you’ve completed your sentence. The good news is that with a strong legal team, you may be able to have your second DWI reduced to a lesser charge to diminish some of the penalties. An experienced Texas DWI defense lawyer can explain the process and benefits of getting charges reduced and which cases are most likely to be eligible.
What Are the Penalties for a Second DWI?
While a first-time DWI can carry some harsh consequences, such as a $2000 fine, a jail sentence of three to 180 days, and the suspension of your license for up to a year, the penalties are much less serious than for a second-offense DWI. Your second DWI is a Class A misdemeanor, and unlike a first-time DWI, you will not have the option of potentially utilizing Texas’ “Second Chance Law” to seal your conviction from public record. This means your second DWI conviction will appear if employers or others perform a background check.
The criminal penalties for a second DWI are as follows:
- Up to a $4000 fine.
- One month to a year of jail time, with a mandatory minimum sentence of three to five consecutive days in jail.
- A driver’s license suspension of up to two years; some drivers may be eligible to pay a hefty DWI traffic fine of up to $6000.
Texas courts take DWI charges very seriously. Repeat offenders are much more likely to receive sentences at the higher end of the range, particularly if there were less than five years between their first and second DWI. Unlike some states, Texas does not drop a DWI conviction from your record after a certain number of years have passed. Even if your first conviction was decades ago, you could face increased penalties if you are ever arrested again for DWI within the state.
Individuals with two DWI convictions within five years must also install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle(s). This device measures the alcohol content of your breath and will prevent the car from starting if the driver is not sober. You must pay for the device’s installation, calibration, and upkeep. Tampering with the IID or attempting to circumvent it can result in the suspension of your driving privileges and other consequences.
How Can You Get a Second DWI Reduced?
A second DWI in Texas is a serious criminal charge that can have long-term effects on your life and career. However, getting the charges reduced with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney may be possible. The most common way to reduce your second DWI is to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution. In some cases, the prosecutor may be willing to reduce your DWI to a lesser charge if you agree to plead guilty to the new charge and fulfill any other specified conditions.
What Factors Could Impact Your Ability to Get the Charges Reduced?
Plea deals save time and money for both sides. Still, prosecutors are sometimes unwilling to negotiate a plea with a second-time offender. The judge also may not sign off on an agreement if they believe it is too lenient. Every DWI case is unique, and it often takes careful investigation and skilled mediation from your defense lawyer to secure a reduction in charges.
Some circumstances in your case that could make the prosecution more willing to negotiate a reduction in charges include the following:
- A clean driving record and criminal record, aside from your first DWI conviction.
- A long period of time between your first and second DWI offense.
- Weak or unconvincing evidence against you that may not hold up in court.
- A willingness to take responsibility for your actions and attend an alcohol treatment program or participate in community service.
- Proof of a strong moral character and a genuine sense of remorse.
What is an Enhanced DWI and How Could It Affect Your Case?
Texas law specifies certain aggravating factors that can lead to an enhanced DWI. If any of the following factors apply to your case, you will face more severe criminal penalties:
- You had an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.
- You were transporting a passenger under 15 at the time of the DWI.
- You caused an accident that led to severe bodily injury or death.
- You injured an on-duty paramedic, police officer, or firefighter while driving under the influence or during your arrest.
How Can a Skilled DWI Attorney Assist You?
An arrest for a second DWI in Texas can lead to severe legal issues and can result in difficulties in your career and personal life for years to come. It is critical to seek the counsel of an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after your second DWI charge to give yourself the best chance of mitigating or avoiding these significant consequences.
Your lawyer can examine the circumstances of your case and build a strategy for fighting your charges or getting them reduced. However, time is of the essence in these cases because your window for investigation and negotiation can be short. Contact The Greening Law Group today to schedule a free case evaluation with a determined, knowledgeable defense lawyer who is ready to fight for your legal rights: 979-779-2000.