Have you been arrested for your second DWI in Houston? If you already have a prior conviction, you'll likely face charges for a Class A Misdemeanor. Unlike your first DWI, you can face mandatory minimum sentences if you are convicted. Penalties can include 72 hours to 12 months in jail, fines now up to as high as $6,000, and 2 years of supervised released. You can also be subject to license suspension for 6 to 24 months.
How your case unfolds will depend on the state's evidence against you and whether any aggravating factors were involved.
Second DWI with Blood Test in Houston TX
You can be arrested for DWI if police have direct evidence to show that you are intoxicated. Blood tests can be an accurate way to determine if you have any drugs or alcohol in your system. After a DWI stop, police may ask you to consent to chemical testing. Breath tests are easier to administer but don't always provide an accurate result. Police may be inclined to request a blood test if they believe you are under the influence of drugs or if a breath test would not be reliable for your specific situation.
Blood tests analyze a sample of your blood and search for the presence of substances in your body. The test can be fairly comprehensive and search for a variety of different substances. Since the process tests your blood directly, there is theoretically very little room for error.
Do I Have to Consent to a Blood Test in a Texas DWI investigation?
In most cases, the answer is no. Thanks to a Texas court, you generally have the right to refuse chemical testing. There are certain “no refusal weekends” when police obtaining warrants is relatively easy and can quickly collect blood samples. It's important to understand also that refusing a blood test can have significant consequences. If you are arrested, your license will be seized by police and subject to immediate suspension. You'll have to request a special administrative hearing to fight to keep your license. A judge has the authority to suspend the license for up to 12 months for your second DWI with a blood test.
How Can I Fight Blood Test Results in Harris County TX?
The best thing to do is hire an attorney who knows how to handle these difficult cases. Since blood tests are generally accurate, it takes hard work and creativity to find possible issues. Blood tests may not be reliable if:
- Blood is drawn from an improper source.
- Blood testing equipment isn't properly cleaned and maintained.
- A sample of your blood was not retained for future testing.
- Chain of custody was disturbed.
- There were other deviations from standard procedure.
Pointing out issues that could have affected test results can be a successful strategy. Attacking the state's evidence can help you secure a plea or force the state to drop the charges altogether.
Second DWI With Breath Test in Houston TX
Breath tests, when administered correctly, can give police insight into your level of intoxication. However, breath tests can only analyze your system for the presence of alcohol. Traces of other drugs, both illegal and prescription, will not show up on a breathalyzer.
When police suspect that you are intoxicated they may ask you to comply with chemical testing. A breathalyzer can be administered right on the scene or at the police station. When you comply, you will have to provide a sample of your breath into a breathalyzer device. The device will determine the weight of alcohol to the volume of your breath. This result isn't your blood alcohol concentration. The breathalyzer then converts the breath measurement into a comparable blood concentration measurement. The end result tells police the concentration of alcohol in your blood.
You can refuse a breath test. The fact that you refuse testing can be used to insinuate intoxication or guilt in your criminal case. Further, if you are arrested, your license will be seized by police. If you don't request a special administrative hearing within 15 days, the license will be suspended. Since this is your second DWI, the suspension can last for up to 12 months.
Attacking Breath Test Results in Harris County TX DWI Cases
Breath tests are known to be inaccurate. There are many ways to undermine the validity of breath test results. It's important to work with an attorney who understands which arguments will be most helpful. If you've been arrested for a second DWI with a breath test, you can attack results by arguing:
- The breathalyzer wasn't stored or calibrated properly.
- The officer administering the test did not comply with standard procedure.
- You consumed food or products that triggered a false positive.
- Your health conditions or prescription medications affected the result.
It's important to bring up any issues that may have affected the breath test result. The less reliable the evidence, the easier it will be to secure a positive outcome in your case.
Second DWI With Accident in Houston TX
If your second DWI involves an accident you may be exposed to felony criminal charges. DWI accidents causing property damage can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. DWI accidents causing injury or death, however, will always be charged at the felony level.
Property Damage: If your second DWI involves an accident that causes property damage you may be charged with reckless damage or criminal mischief. Reckless damage is a misdemeanor, while criminal mischief can be a felony. The charge will ultimately depend on the type and value of the property you've damaged.
Bodily Injury: If your second DWI involves an accident resulting in serious bodily injury you may be charged with intoxication assault. Serious bodily injury occurs if you create a substantial risk of death or cause disfigurement, loss, or impairment of the body. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony, punishable by 2-10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Death: If your second DWI involves an accident resulting in the death of another person you may be charged with intoxication manslaughter. Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines.
Contact a Smart, Board Certified DWI Defense Lawyer in Houston TX Today
Are you facing charges for your second DWI in Houston? Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for help. Our attorneys, led by Board Certified DWI lawyer Doug Murphy, have the experience and resources you need to secure the best outcome in your case. Call us today at (713) 229-8333 to schedule your free consultation.