Getting a DWI in Texas is a horrible experience – one that can include jail time, the loss of your license, and lots of expenses. So what happens if you get charged with a second DWI offense?
This is exactly what happened recently to a Fort Worth high school principal. Jason Childress, 40, was arrested on Dec. 16, 2017 on charges of DWI. He is serving as principal of Northwest High School and had recently accepted a new position as assistant athletic director for the same school district. On Dec. 17, 2017, he posted the $5,000 bail and was released.
Court records indicate that Childress was previously arrested for DWI in 2012, when he was working at Byron Nelson High School as an assistant principal. He was sentenced to probation and community service, which he completed in 2013.
In this post, we’ll look at the law in our state, including the associated penalties. We’ll also let you know how an experienced Fort Worth DWI attorney can help you find the best possible outcome for your case.
DWI Laws in Texas
The penalties for DWI in Texas are stiff, and they increase with each subsequent DWI offense. Let’s first look at the definition of DWI in Texas.
State law says that a person with a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher is considered legally intoxicated and prohibited from driving and automobile. Moreover, if alcohol impairs a driver’s ability in any way, Texas law considers them intoxicated no matter their BAC level.
Your BAC can be impacted by a number of factors, including your gender, height and weight, the amount of food you eat prior to drinking, and the number of drinks you consume within a certain time period. Smaller people, younger people, and women normally show higher BAC levels in shorter time periods.
Penalties for DWI in Texas
You must submit to a blood or breath test upon arrest, or you can face automatic driver’s license suspension for up to 180 days.
For a first DWI conviction, you will lose your driver’s license for up to one year. You will also face a fine of up to $2,000 and spend three to 180 days in jail. It will also cost you $1,000 to $2,000 each year for three years to keep your driver’s license.
A second DWI conviction, such as the one Jason Childress is currently facing, will result in further penalties. You may lose your driver’s license for up to two years, be required to pay fines of up to $4,000, and could spend 30 days to one year in jail. To keep your driver’s license, you will be required to pay an annual fee of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000 each year for three years.
Moreover, if you have two or more DWI convictions within five years, the law requires you to install a special device on your vehicle’s ignition system, which prevents you from operating a vehicle if your BAC is above a certain level.
How to Deal with Second DWI Charges
If you have been charged with a second DWI, you don’t have all of the same options that are available to someone trying to fight their first alleged offense. However, there are still a number of things that a skilled Texas DWI attorney can do to minimize your consequences, and possibly even get your charges dropped or dismissed.
Your case may be eligible for the following defenses:
The police must have probable cause to pull you over on suspicion of DWI. If they pulled you over without probable cause, your case can be dropped.
Improper police procedures
If the police failed to read you your rights, mistreated you, or mishandled the field test, your charges may be reduced or dismissed.
Breathalyzer machines are notoriously inaccurate. Unless they are perfectly calibrated and used with proper technique, they can produce false positive results.
Blood test failure
If your blood test results were mishandled in any way, they cannot serve as evidence against you in court.
If you have diabetes, the ketones in your breath may throw off your breathalyzer results. If you have recently had dental work, it may hold alcohol in your mouth and throw off the test results. Also, you may fail the field test if you have a physical impairment – even when you are not intoxicated.
Did you know that certain mouthwashes can show up as alcohol on breathalyzer tests? Other chemicals, such as cleaning solutions – and even hairspray – may also register as alcohol on a test.
38258487 – us driver license isolated on white background.It’s important to contact an experienced Texas criminal lawyer and work with them to build the strongest possible defense against your charges. Reach out today for your free case review.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.