The potential penalties for a second offense driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge can be severe in Texas. And while potential jail time may be your primary concern, the maximum fine you could also face is no laughing matter. And because of your previous DWI conviction, the potential maximum fine is much higher than the fine for a DWI 1st Offense. If that wasn't enough, the fines are only part of the costs associated with a second offense DWI.
That's why your best option in avoiding these hefty fines and costs associated with a DWI, but to do so, you must avoid a conviction entirely. It may feel like your conviction is inevitable, but it is possible to win your DWI case in many instances. Winning your DWI case will come down to the facts of your arrest and the skill of your attorney. That makes hiring the right Houston DWI attorney the most important choice when it comes to your defense.
Attorney Doug Murphy is recognized as one of the nation's best and Houston's top DWI defense lawyers. An experienced trial lawyer, Doug Murphy understands the value of pleading your case in front of a jury of your peers. Doug Murphy is a Board Certified expert in both DWI defense law and criminal defense law. In fact, he is one of only two attorneys in the State of Texas to be Board Certified in both. If you would like to discuss how to beat your DWI case with the best DWI defense attorney in Houston, contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.
DWI Laws in Texas
To be convicted of a DWI second offense, you must first have a previous conviction for DWI on your record. That conviction could have occurred in a different state. It makes no difference if the conviction was decades old or just this year. To be convicted a DWI, the prosecutor in your case will have to prove the following:
- That you lacked the normal use of mental or physical faculties due to the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more substances, or any other substance in the body; or
- That you had a breath or blood alcohol concentration that exceeds the legal limit of .08 percent.
In other words, you can be convicted of a DWI even if your breath or blood alcohol concentration was below the legal limit of .08 percent. In fact, you may be convicted even if you refused to give a blood or breath sample at all. The prosecutor must only prove one of the two prongs to convict you for DWI.
The Fine for a Second Offense DWI in Texas
If you are convicted of a second offense DWI in Texas, the maximum fine you potentially face is controlled by statute. A second offense DWI carries a maximum fine of $4,000. This fine is double the maximum fine for a DWI 1st offense.
You won't necessarily face the maximum fine upon conviction. The fine assessed is up to the judge in your case, and they can assign a fine so long as it fits within the range set by statute. The judge in your case also has the option to simply sentence you to jail with no fine at all.
Other Potential Costs of a DWI Case
For many, being convicted of the maximum fine for DWI 2nd Offense can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, fines are only one part of the potential economic costs of a Texas DWI. Some of the other costs you might face include:
Court Costs and Restitution
On top of your fines, the court will also require you to pay for your court costs upon your conviction. Court costs are the expenses the court incurs prosecuting the case against you. In other words, you are required to pay for your own court proceedings if you are found guilty.
If, during the course of your drunken driving, you damage the property or person of another, you may be required to make the victim whole financially. This process is known as restitution. Restitution is only required in cases where you damaged another; therefore it is not a requirement in every case.
Administrative Fees and Costs
For many, the most surprising cost of a DWI conviction are the administrative fees associated with having your driver's license suspended. In order to get your license back, you will be required to pay a license surcharge fee. This fee is $2,000 per year, payable of the first three years you get your license back.
The court may also require that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. An ignition interlock device is a device that requires you to blow into it before starting your car. If the device detects any alcohol on your breath, your vehicle will not start. You will be required to pay the full costs of the installation and maintenance of the ignition interlock device.
Increased Insurance Rates
Another unfortunate consequence of a DWI conviction is that your insurance rates will likely increase. The state may also mandate that you provide proof of insurance coverage, known as an SR-22. The end result for you is much higher premiums now that you have been labeled a high-risk driver.
Impound and Towing Costs
After your arrest, the arresting officer won't simply leave your vehicle on the side of the road. The police will call for your vehicle to be towed and impounded, and you will be stuck with the bill. On average, towing can cost $500 and impound can be as much as $20 per day.
Hiring an Attorney
Last but not least, you will be responsible for the cost of your attorney. The cost of hiring an attorney can vary greatly from one lawyer to the next, but you can expect a legal bill in the thousands of dollars before your case is resolved. That said, if you hire Houston's premier DWI defense attorney, then you may be able to forego the fines and fees associated with a conviction -- as well as forego all the collateral consequences associated with a conviction.
Hiring the Right Houston DWI Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested for DWI in Houston, you need the best DWI attorney available. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for your free consultation.