DWI 2 (with prior)

DWI 2nd (DWI with Prior)

Years ago, if a person went 10 years after a DWI conviction, that conviction could not be used to enhance any new DWI arrest. But that Texas DWI law is long gone. Now, Texas law increases the seriousness of DWI cases for repeat arrests, regardless of whether 10 years -- or any amount of time -- has passed. There is no drop off period in Texas any longer. A DWI conviction remains on your records for life, in terms of being used against you on a new, later, DWI arrest. This is true even if it's sealed under the new Texas DWI Record Sealing Laws.

If convicted of a DWI, then the next arrest for DWI will be enhanced to a Class A Misdmeanor. This enhancement is a serious one, since it increases mandatory jail time, license suspensions, and will trigger the Interlock Device requirement from DPS. The enhanced law basically doubles the potential punishment of a first time DWI, meaning a DWI 2nd is punishable by up to a year in jail or fines up to $4,000.

But the main concern for most people is the mandatory jail if convicted of a DWI 2nd -- even if you're given probation! Travis County prosecutors will typically require up to 10 days at the Travis County Jail as a Condition of Probation (ACOP). The ACOP jail is day for day, so no credits or MCE's (meaning two for one jail days). There are ways to avoid this, but it's getting harder to get the Judge and prosecutor to agree to remove or avoid ACOP.

You can read the specific Texas DWI Statute and Punishments for DWI below.

What You Need To Know

The biggest issue for most people would be a minimum days in jail. As mentioned above, while most Class A Misdemeanors carry a potential penalty up to 365 days Jail and/or $4,000 fines + costs, the minimum jail is terrifying for most people. Luckily, Keates Law Firm has been successful in avoiding the mandatory jail, whether by beating the case at Jury Trial, or negotiating reduction of charges. Other concerns for the accused include up to a two year license suspension, Thousands of dollars per year in DPS surcharge, $125 Reinstatement Fee, the required Interlock Device in car, longer DWI Education classes, longer SR22 insurance requirements, and insurance rate increases.

Be sure to read about License Suspensions as well, since there is an automatic suspension of your license at an ALR License Revocation Hearing. If suspended, Keates Law Firm can help get an Occupational License to allow for legal driving while the suspension runs its course.

Closely Related Offenses

There are several types of DWI in Texas. A First Time DWI is the most common, but if a person has a prior DWI, then the charge is more serious. A DWI Second Offense is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries more severe penalties. Likewise, having two DWI priors means the next arrest will be considered a Felony DWI.

A first time DWI where the person has a breath or blood result .015% or higher, will have the DWI upgraded to a more serious DWI offense, specifically an Enhanced DWI (Class A).

Lastly, if there is no alcohol involved, or a combination of alcohol and a narcotic, then a person could be charged with a Drug DWI. This is true even if a person is taking legal prescriptions.

If you're looking for other offenses that are related to this one, you can see more information below, or click related legal offenses.

Jail Release and Bond for DWI

Individuals arrested for DWIs are taken to jail following the arrest -- there is no cite and release for DWI arrests. The primary immediate concern for the arrested and their family is to get out of jail. Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.

Sometimes an officer will file arrest warrant, which will require a Walkthrough to clear the Arrest Warrant. Doing a Walkthrough quickly is important, because most of the time a person does not go into the jail during the surrender process. Call us for more details if you have an Active Travis County Arrest Warrant.

Defenses for DWI

There are a variety of defenses and arguments for DWIs, depending on the facts -- from motion to suppress the traffic stop, to contesting the blood or breath results. An important part of a DWI case in Austin is the patrol car video (or body camera), and the blood/breath test results. Those two items typically dictate whether a DWI case will be dismissed or reduced -- or set for Jury Trial.

Topics of interest include DWI Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and also DWI Breath and Blood Tests.

If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.

Work with an Experienced DWI Attorney

Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling DWI cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.

Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.

How We Can Help

The focus on a DWI should be getting it either dismissed, reduced, or a non-DWI offense instead of a Driving While Intoxicated. A Dismissal will allow a person to later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.

Dismissal is not always a realistic possibility, but there are alternatives, such as a reduced charge or a short probation that would allow for Sealing DWI Convictions later.

Keates Law Firm has a track record of reductions and dismissals for DWI. The main hurdle is convincing the prosecutor to agree to reduce or dismiss the DWI case, and Keates Law Firm has experience in Austin's Travis County courts doing just that.

Benefits of Working with Keates Law Firm:

  • Direct Access to Attorney's Email and Cell (Texting Okay!)
  • Robert handles your case, not a junior lawyer
  • Trusted, Local, BBB+
  • Free Case Consultations
  • Low Rates available
  • Transparent Fees - No Unexpected Fees!

The Law in Texas on DWI with Priors


(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days, if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Penalties for DWI
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines
Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines
3rd Degree Felony 2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines

What Our Clients are Saying

"He was more than prepared and encouraged going to trial on the DWI. Robert has truly surpassed all expectations and I highly recommend his services!" -Laura W.
"DWI dismissed. Paid $75 for a reduced traffic ticket, and was done! No jail, no probation, no community service. I absolutely recommend Robert. -Jonathan P.

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