If you are facing a DWI charge and already have a record with DWI convictions, do not give up hope. Just because you have a past criminal record does not mean you are destined to add another conviction to your record.
Nevertheless, under Texas law, there are ramifications to having multiple DWI convictions on your record. For example, the severity of charges increases with each DWI conviction. After three convictions, a DWI charge escalates to a felony with a potential punishment of two to 10 years in jail. For example, a San Antonio resident was sentenced to 10 years in prison after his 12th DWI conviction, according to KHOU.com.
If This is Your Second DWI Offense
If you’ve been convicted of two DWI offenses, you’re likely facing a Class A misdemeanor. This means you’ll be required to serve some jail time. If the second DWI charge is within five years of your first DWI conviction, you will have to serve at least five consecutive days in jail.
If This is Your Third DWI Offense
If you’re charged a third time for a DWI, Texas law requires the judge to sentence you, or a loved one, to at least 10 days in a county jail. There are other statutorily set punishments that courts can impose for a third DWI offense, including:
- A fine up to $10,000;
- Suspension of your driver’s license for between six months and two years.
- Jail time of between two and 10 years;
- Probation or community supervision of up to two years with at least 600 hours of community service;
- Mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device;
- Enrollment in an alcohol or drug treatment program; and/or
- Annual fines.
Plea Bargaining Your DWI Charge
A plea bargain is a type of arrangement where you agree to plead guilty to the offense in exchange for receiving a lesser conviction and punishment. For example, a plea agreement could mean you agree to plead guilty and the charges are dropped to reckless driving, which carries less severe punishments. But keep in mind, if you have multiple DWI convictions on your record, it is unlikely a satisfactory plea bargain will be offered. Prosecutors in Texas are less open to discussing plea bargains when a defendant has an extensive DWI record.
Defenses That Can Be Raised with Your Most Recent DWI Charge
Since plea bargaining may not be a viable option, you will likely need to have your DWI case tried in front of a judge or jury. Keep in mind, for every criminal charge, the burden remains on the prosecution to argue that you are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That means if any reasonable doubt can be raised by your defense attorney, a juror should not convict you of the crime. Other defenses include:
- Lack of reasonable suspicion to even stop your vehicle;
- Lack of probable cause; and
- Challenging the evidence from a breath or blood test.
Contact an Experienced DWI Defense Attorney Today
If you or a loved one is facing a DWI charge and have DWI convictions on your record, don’t hesitate to contact the Galveston DWI lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for help. We are prepared to defend you. Don’t hesitate to call and talk with us at 409-765-5614 if you need legal help.