Facing a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious matter that can have significant consequences. However, when it comes to a second offense DWI in San Antonio, the stakes are even higher. Being aware of the elements of the offense, potential punishments, available defenses, and the impact of administrative license revocation (ALR) suspensions is an important first step if you are facing this charge. As an experienced DWI attorney, I am here to provide you with essential information to help you navigate this challenging situation.
DWI - Second Offense in San Antonio
A DWI - second offense occurs when an individual is charged with driving while intoxicated after having been previously convicted of DWI.
Previous Conviction: The prosecution must establish that the defendant has a prior conviction for DWI, which doesn’t have to be in Texas. Even if the individual had completed a deferred probation and had the charges dismissed, that charge can still be used as an enhancement.
Operation of a Motor Vehicle: The prosecution must demonstrate that the defendant operated a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Intoxication Level: One way this prosecution can prove this element is by showing that the defendant's alcohol concentration level exceeded the legal limit of 0.08% at the time of the offense. This can be determined through chemical tests, such as breath or blood tests. The second way is by showing that the defendant has lost the normal use of his mental or physical faculties due to drugs, alcohol, or literally any other substance. This can be established through various forms of evidence, such as field sobriety tests, blood results, and officer observations.
Possible Penalties for DWI - Second Offense in San Antonio:
Being convicted of a DWI - second offense in San Antonio can result in severe penalties. The exact consequences depend on various factors, such as prior criminal history, BAC level, and any aggravating circumstances. Potential punishments may include:
Incarceration: A second offense DWI can lead to mandatory jail time, ranging from 30 days to one year. The specific duration depends on the circumstances of the case. However, in certain cases, the court may allow probation instead of jail time.
Fines and Fees: The fine for a DWI – Second offense can be up to $4,000.00. Additionally, court costs, probation fees, and other associated expenses may apply.
License Suspension: A second DWI offense can lead to a license suspension ranging from 180 days to two years. The ability to obtain an occupational license to drive for essential purposes may be available under certain circumstances.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID): If placed on probation, the court must order the installation of an IID, which requires the driver to pass a breathalyzer test before starting the vehicle.
In addition to the legal penalties associated with a DWI second offense, there are several collateral consequences that can have a significant impact on various aspects of your life. It's important to be aware of these consequences, as they can extend beyond the courtroom and affect your personal and professional life. Here are some potential collateral consequences:
Increased Penalties for Future Offenses: If a subsequent offense occurs and it is charged as a third DWI offense, it can be elevated to a third-degree felony in Texas. Felony convictions carry much more severe penalties, including substantial prison time and significant fines.
Employment Consequences: A DWI conviction, especially a second offense, can lead to negative consequences in your professional life. It can impact your current job, particularly if driving is an essential aspect of your employment. It may also limit future employment opportunities, as employers often conduct background checks and consider DUI/DWI convictions when making hiring decisions, particularly for positions that require driving or working with vulnerable populations.
Driver's License and Insurance: Following a DWI second offense conviction, your driver's license will likely be suspended. Reinstating your license will require completing any necessary alcohol education or treatment programs, paying fines, and meeting other requirements imposed by the court or the Department of Public Safety (DPS). Additionally, your auto insurance premiums are likely to increase significantly, and some insurance providers may even choose to drop your coverage altogether.
Professional Licenses: If you hold a professional license, such as a medical or nursing license, a DWI second offense conviction can trigger disciplinary actions from the licensing board. This can include license suspension, revocation, or additional requirements such as mandatory counseling or monitoring.
Possible Defenses for DWI - Second Offense in San Antonio:
Several defenses can be explored to challenge a DWI - second offense charge, some of the most common include:
Invalid Traffic Stop: If law enforcement lacked reasonable suspicion or probable cause to initiate the traffic stop, any evidence obtained thereafter may be deemed inadmissible.
Improper Field Sobriety Testing: Challenging the accuracy and administration of field sobriety tests can weaken the prosecution's case.
Inaccurate BAC Results: Contesting the reliability of blood or breath tests, based on issues such as improper calibration or mishandling of samples, can raise doubts about the accuracy of the reported BAC level.
San Antonio DWI - Second Defense Attorney Brad Thornton
When facing the daunting challenges of a DWI second offense in San Antonio, it is essential to have a skilled and experienced attorney by your side. As a board-certified criminal law specialist and former prosecutor on the DWI task force, I, Brad Thornton of Thornton Criminal Defense, possess the expertise and knowledge necessary to navigate the complexities of DWI cases.
My board certification in criminal law signifies my commitment to excellence and demonstrates a high level of competence in this specific area of law. This distinction sets me apart as an attorney who has undergone rigorous evaluation, including a thorough examination of my trial skills, legal knowledge, and professional ethics.
Furthermore, my experience as a former prosecutor on the DWI task force has provided me with valuable insights into the strategies employed by the prosecution. This firsthand knowledge allows me to anticipate their tactics, identify potential weaknesses in their case, and build a robust defense on your behalf.
Having tried numerous DWI cases throughout my career, I understand the intricacies involved in these matters. Each case is unique, and I approach every client with personalized attention, ensuring that no stone is left unturned in developing a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to your specific circumstances.
At Thornton Criminal Defense, we are dedicated to protecting your rights, fighting for your best interests, and striving for the most favorable outcome possible. We understand the collateral consequences that accompany a DWI second offense and work diligently to minimize the impact on your personal and professional life.
Do not face the complexities of a DWI second offense alone. Contact Thornton Criminal Defense at 210-439-5627 to schedule a free consultation and let our experience, expertise, and commitment to your defense provide you with the guidance and advocacy you deserve. Remember, the right attorney can make all the difference in your case.