Texas is a state where first time offenders can go to jail. Going before the court a second time for driving under the influence is certainly not a matter to be taken lightly. A second DUI in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor and the penalties are harsh.
The consequences for a second DUI in Texas can begin before the trial. A person who is accused of this crime will receive a notice to attend a hearing conducted by the Texas Office of Administrative Hearings. This is not a procedure to determine guilt or innocence, but rather one to assess the actions of the arresting officer and the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the accused. If it is found that the officer's actions were legal and the individual had a BAC of .08 or higher, her driver's license will be suspended for a year.
After paying $125 to have her driver's license reinstated, under the Texas Driver Responsibility Program, a person is required to pay an additional $2,000 per year for three years to keep them from being revoked. Texas has a lookback period of 10 years. Any convictions outside of this time frame are not considered in pending cases, but each conviction remains on a person's driving record for life.
When an individual is found guilty of a second DUI in a criminal court, her driver's license will be suspended for an additional period ranging from 180 days to two years. The Texas Code does not outline a specific fine for the conviction. However, the presiding judge in each case can order the guilty party to pay any amount up to $4,000.
A judge is required to order community service of at least 80 hours and may require the guilty party to serve as many as 200 hours. Incarceration is also required in these cases. The guilty party faces a sentence of 72 hours to a year in jail.
Texas courts use a second DUI conviction as an indicator that a person may have a substance abuse problem. This commonly prompts judges to order an evaluation or rehabilitative treatment.
Contacting an experienced drunk driving attorney is one of the first steps an individual should take when accused of a second DUI. It is only after obtaining professional advice that a person should decide how to plead. Contrary to popular belief, conviction is not certain when an person has legal representation. A not guilty verdict or a plea bargain for a lesser charge is often possible.