Facing Houston DWI charges more than once is far from uncommon. And with drastically higher penalties for a second DWI, this leaves many people wondering, “Can a second DWI be reduced?”
While we certainly understand the desire to deal with a second DWI quickly, there is no clear-cut answer to this question. Getting a second DWI dismissed or reduced depends on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case. However, your odds are greatly improved by working with an experienced Houston DWI lawyer.
Even with a prior DWI on your record, there are ways to help yourself. To learn if reducing a second DWI is possible in your case, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett today at (713) 222-6767. Initial consults are free and confidential.
A Plea Could Reduce a Second DWI
DWI charges are often reduced if you, your attorney, and the prosecutor reach a plea agreement. For example, the prosecutor might reduce your DWI charge to a less serious offense – like reckless driving – if you agree to skip a trial and plead guilty.
When plea bargains are reached, both parties get what they want: less time in court, fewer expenses, and an acceptable outcome. However, prosecutors don’t always like to reduce charges for repeat DWI offenders. Even if you reach a deal with a prosecutor, there is also a chance that the judge might not sign off on it.
Factors that Affect DWI Pleas
DWI plea agreements and charge reductions may depend on:
- Time since your last conviction – Most states won’t treat you as a repeat DWI offender unless your previous DWI occurred within a five or ten-year lookback period. But in Texas, you may face mandatory second DWI penalties even if your first conviction occurred decades ago. That being said, the more time between any prior drunk driving arrests, the better your odds of getting a good plea bargain.
- Personal circumstances and character – If you show remorse for your actions and a willingness to get treatment for alcoholism, the criminal justice system is much more likely to show leniency. Furthermore, if you demonstrate that you have strong moral character, a good driving record, and a relatively clean criminal background, you increase the chances of reducing the charges.
- The facts of your case – If your second DWI involved aggravating factors, you will probably not see a reduction. Aggravating factors include having an open container, causing an accident, having a minor in the car, or being abusive to the officer during the traffic stop. However, if the arresting officer did something wrong, getting your DWI charge reduced or even dismissed is definitely possible.
What Happens if My Second DWI is Reduced?
The penalties for a second DWI in Texas are harsh. Even before you are convicted, you may have to install an ignition interlock device.
A second DWI is a class A misdemeanor with fines up to $4,000, 30 days to a year in jail, and a six-month to two-year driver’s license suspension. A good plea agreement could reduce your second DWI to reckless driving. This is an unclassified misdemeanor, only punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or fines of up to $200.
How A Houston DWI Lawyer Can Help
If you are facing a second DWI in Houston, you have a lot on the line, and negotiating a reduction is challenging. An experienced lawyer can present your case in the best possible light and argue as to why you deserve to have your second DWI charge reduced.
Houston defense attorney Ned Barnett built his reputation on getting positive outcomes. With a history of helping people deal with multiple DWI charges in Texas, attorney Barnett knows what it takes to secure the best possible result.