There are many reasons that a driver in Texas might get arrested for a driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense. Some motorists end up arrested after their involvement in a collision. Other times, it is a one-on-one traffic stop that leads to a driver’s arrest.
Statistically, those convicted of one Texas DWI offense have a noteworthy risk of getting arrested again. Impaired driving is a charge associated with substance abuse disorders and high rates of recidivism. Someone arrested for impairment at the wheel once is reasonably likely to end up facing charges again for a similar offense in the future. Partially in an effort to deter recidivism, Texas imposes harsher penalties on second and third DWI charges.
Each new arrest increases the risks
The penalties for even a first DWI in Bexar County are somewhat steep. Drivers may have to pay as much as $2,000 in fines and could face up to 180 days in jail and the loss of their driver’s licenses for a year. A second DWI offense could lead to twice as much in fines or $4,000, as well as up to a year in jail and two years without driving privileges.
A third DWI will lead to $10,00 in fines, up to 10 years in prison and possibly two years without a driver’s license. A fourth DWI will be a felony charge. The maximum fine is still $10,000, but the prison time increases to 20 years.
What are the options for someone facing DWI charges?
In some scenarios, an individual arrested for a DWI offense make qualify for adjudication in the Bexar County DWI courts. Unlike traditional criminal courts, the DWI courts focus on rehabilitation by addressing the factors that led to someone’s impaired driving arrest.
Other times, a motorist may have the option of mounting a defense by challenging state evidence or providing evidence of their own, such as medical documentation of a condition that may have affected the accuracy of the tests administered by the police officer who arrested them. Understanding how the penalties increase with each subsequent DWI offense may help those recently arrested in Texas make more informed decisions about how best to move forward.