When your blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher, you can get arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Although many times a DWI is a victimless crime that results from a traffic stop, the penalties are still very serious. After all, some DWI offenses result in crashes that cause property damage or even leave others hurt or killed.
As with most kinds of criminal offenses, repeat DWI offenders face harsher penalties than first-time DWI offenders. Increasing penalties with each subsequent conviction is a way to deter people from making the same mistake multiple times.
If you already have at least one DWI conviction on your record and you get pulled over and arrested again, what penalties will you likely face?
The monetary penalties more than double for follow-up DWI offenses
Texas doesn’t shy away from hitting those accused with a DWI right in the wallet. With the first offense, the fine for a DWI maxes out at $2,000. For a second offense, a judge could order a fine of as much as $4,000, while a third offense could mean a fine of $10,000.
There are other financial consequences too, including state fines of $3,000, $4,500 and $6,000 respectively. Court costs and other expenses can also increase how much a DWI charge will cost you. Those with repeat DWI offenses can also expect drastic changes in their insurance costs.
Incarceration terms increase with each offense
The same is true for incarceration. While a first offense only requires three to 30 days in jail and could mean a maximum of 180 days in jail, the penalties go up for repeat offenders. After a second DWI, you will have to serve at least one month in jail but possibly up to a year. Third DWI offenses mean between two and 10 years in prison.
The suspension of your license increases as well
The suspension of someone’s driver’s license is a standard penalty after a DWI charge. First-time offenders lose their license for up to a year, but subsequent offenders can lose their license for up to two years each time they plead guilty or get convicted.
The increased penalties for second and third DWI charges make defending against those subsequent charges or a first DWI a smart legal decision.