The penalties associated with the 2nd and 3rd or more Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offense are appropriately more severe than the 1st DWI offense. Even if you represented yourself throughout the process of conviction for your first DWI, we strongly encourage you to seek counsel to represent you for the 2nd or 3rd offense. If you are facing charges for any DWI, we are here to help you. We encourage you to call us if we can be of assistance to you throughout this confusing and complicated process. This post will identify some of the penalties associated with the 2nd and 3rd or more DWI offense.
A 2nd DWI is a Class A Misdemeanor. It carries a penalty of a fine of up to $4,000 and 30 to 365 days in jail. Additionally, your license could be suspended for 180 days and up to 2 years.
The 3rd, or subsequent to the 3rd, DWI is classified by the previous offense’s characteristics. Specifically, a 3rd DWI is classified as a 3rd Degree Felony, and it carries a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in state jail (the license suspension range is 180 days to 2 years). A 3rd or more DWI, where previous offenses resulted in 1 prior state jail punishment, is punished as a 2nd Degree Felony. This carries a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 20 years in state jail (and up to 2 years of license suspension). A 3rd or more DWI, where previous offenses resulted in 2 prior state jails punishments, is punished as an enhanced felony. This carries a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and 25 years to life in state jail (and up to 2 years of license suspension).
While all of these penalties are daunting in their own right, an unfortunate reality is that often DWI results in the injury to another person. If you are charged with Intoxication Assault—a DWI that causes serious bodily injury—this is punished as a 3rd Degree Felony. It carries a penalty of up to a $10,000 fine and 2 to 10 years in state jail (the range for license suspension is 180 days to 2 years). Last, if you are charged with Intoxication Manslaughter—a DWI that causes death—this is often punished as a 2nd Degree Felony. It carries a penalty of a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in state jail (the range for license suspension is 180 days to 2 years). Be aware, however, that aggravating and mitigating factors could decrease or enhance any of these punishments. Each case, especially when the result is serious bodily injury or death, is handled differently. You should not rely on the above stated penalties when deciding how to proceed in your own case. As soon as possible, if you are facing punishment for a DWI, and it is not your first, we highly encourage you to reach out to us.
A DWI offense, regardless of the number of times it has occurred, is an extremely serious matter. When selecting a defense attorney, you should be mindful of 3 things: (1) how many defendants the attorney has represented and the nature of the circumstances for those representations; (2) whether or not the attorney was able to obtain favorable results for their other clients who were charged with a similar offense or presented similar circumstances; and (3) whether or not your attorney believes they can obtain favorable results in your case. You should choose an attorney that is honest and forthright about your options and the likelihood that those options will be successful. You should ask questions and never be afraid to “call out” your attorney when you do not believe they are acting in your best interest. When you seek representation, you are putting your liberty in the hands of another individual. For that reason alone, you deserve an attorney who cares about you. When you need us, we are here and we are happy to answer your questions to help you make an informed decision regarding your defense.