Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a common criminal offense even if people recognize that it is a dangerous habit. In fact, individuals who get arrested once for impaired driving charges could very well face arrest for the same issue again in the future, as people have a tendency to repeat their mistakes.
It is also worth noting that people who wind up with impaired driving charges may have an alcohol addiction that compromises their decision-making process and leaves them more vulnerable to these kinds of mistakes. Sadly, criminal laws don’t take medical and mental health conditions into consideration when outlining the penalties that come with a charge.
There are significant consequences for any impaired driving offense in Texas, particularly if it results in a crash that causes property damage or injury to another person. Still, second, third or subsequent impaired driving offenses do carry more substantial penalties and potentially more serious charges than a first-time DWI in Texas.
When you become a repeat offender, the state will take more aggressive action
Anyone can make a simple mistake, particularly if they are young and don’t have a ton of experience with alcohol. Sometimes, people just don’t understand that they are under the influence when they get behind the wheel. Other times, they might think that they’ve had enough time to sober up simply because they aren’t used to how their body metabolizes alcohol yet.
The potential for a mistake, as well as the desire to allow people to rebuild their lives, contributes to the state having more leniency when sentencing a first-time impaired driver. However, if you get arrested and charged a second or third time, that makes it clear to the state that it wasn’t a simple mistake but rather a willful, intentional action.
The state will then do more to deter you from future offenses. By increasing the penalties you face, the state of Texas hopes to prevent people from continuing to get behind the wheel drunk time after time, thereby endangering themselves and others.
Know the penalties you could face
A first-time DWI charge only results in a fine of up to $2,000 and between three days and six months in jail, as well as the loss of your license for up to a year. A second offense carries both higher fines and longer potential license suspension and incarceration periods. A person facing a second DWI charge may wind up spending up to a year incarcerated and may have to pay as much as $4,000 in fines.
Third offenses increase the penalties significantly to up to $10,000 in fines and between two and 10 years in prison. It’s also worth noting that having less than five years between charges could mean you have to install an ignition interlock device when you eventually get your license back.