Nationally, 1.9 percent of people report driving drunk in the past 30 days. In Texas, that number is higher, with a rate of 2.1 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The difference between a first offense DUI and a second offense DUI, however, can be significant. Read on to learn more about the difference between these two DUI offenses.
Understanding The Second Offense DUI
What Constitutes A DUI Or DWI?
First, let’s lay down the ground rules.
Simply put, a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI), is a charge the state levies against a citizen for operating a car or other motor vehicle while under the effect of a substance.
The burden of proof does reside with the State and not the defendant, but there are mitigating factors. Refusing a breathalyzer test, for instance, can be grounds for a severe penalty, but less than that of a convicted first or second offense DUI.
Check Your Local Laws
First and foremost, the penalties for first and second offense differ greatly depending on the state you’re in.
In Texas, the penalty for a first offense DUI is usually jail time from between three and 180 days and up to a $2,000 fine. That’s not a felony, but rather Class B Misdemeanor.
It can also include a license suspension for anywhere from 90 days to a full year. But the whole thing can be nearly expunged by requesting a “non-disclosure” agreement on your criminal record two years after finishing probation.
A second offense DWI, on the other hand, increases the financial penalty to up to $4,000. It also increases the minimum potential jail time to 30 days and license suspension time to up to two years.
Blood Alcohol Level Matters
Just driving under the influence isn’t all that matters, however.
After all, DWI can happen even while driving under the influence of doctor prescribed medication.
In the case of alcohol, your blood alcohol content (BAC) influences the minimum and maximum potential penalties you may face.
What Texas Law Says
As mentioned prior, every state is different, but Texas’s laws mirror that of much of the rest of the country.
For a first offense, people who are found to have a BAC of 0.15 or higher face a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. It’s a Class B Misdemeanor under local law.
A second offense — which is to a saw a second offense DUI within five years — requires an ignition interlock device (a device you blow into to operate your car).
But such a device is also recommended for first-time offenders, as it’s a requirement for getting the non-disclosure agreement on your record.
Find An Experienced First And Second Offense DUI Lawyer
DUI and DWI charges can happen to anyone, even with the best of intentions. That’s why finding someone who knows the law inside and out is critical to dealing with a first or second offense DUI charge.
Looking for a DWI or DUI lawyer in Austin, Texas and beyond? James Fletcher specializes as an expert in the field and has the positive reviews to prove it.