It looks like I will be facing jail time for my 2nd DWI in Texas, and I am looking for information on what to expect. Will I be thrown in with all the other offenders, or will I have a cell by myself like the night I was arrested? I find it hard to believe that I am facing actual jail time - I know so many other people that have gotten off without jail, just probation and classes, IID, etc. What will my sentence of my 2nd DWI in TX be?
You ask if you are facing jail time for A 2nd offense DWI. The short answer is not much and not likely.
First of all, if you fight the charge and get a not guilty, there is no punishment, so there is obviously no jail time. That should be your first avenue to explore. Secondly, if there are no aggravating circumstances, probation is typically offered on a DWI 2nd offense conviction. But in Texas, there is a mandatory 72 hours jail time for probation on a DWI 2nd. Many judges and jurors are reluctant to sentence DWI offenders to extended jail sentences for a number of reasons. Most recognize that DWI cases are unintentional crimes, and that jail time doesn't generally accomplish anything. If behavior modification is the goal, probation is a better alternative.
If you do have to spend time in jail, you won't have any choice as to which cell you will occupy, or who your cellmates will be. The sheriff's office decides those matters, but by law, they have to classify and segregate inmates by sex, type of offense, and prior record of dangerousness. A misdemeanor DWI offender shouldn't ever find himself bunking with murderers and / or sex offenders, for example.
If you are convicted of a DWI 2nd in Texas, the range of punishment is anywhere from 30 to 365 days in the county jail, and a fine up to $4,000. Either or both may be probated. In Dallas county, a typical DWI 2nd plea bargain might be 180 days in jail, probated for two years, a $1,200 fine, and various terms and conditons of probation, including monthly reporting ($60 a month), a DWI repeat offender education program (40 hours / $200), attendance at a Victim Impact Panel ($40), a drug and alcohol evaluation, 72 hours in the county jail, several AA meetings, and an alcohol detecting vehicle interlock device ($80 a month). Not exactly a slap on the wrist, but not exactly "hard time," either...
Hire a good attorney and you should be fine. Best of luck to you!
Unless you have other criminal history or bad DWI facts (collision, super high BAC, abusive to the cops) then it is unusual that you're only being offered jail time. Probation is almost always on the table in DWI cases, even felonies. There was a time a few years ago where the County Attorney would only offer 180 days in jail on DWI 2nd but we'd just set them for trial and they'd cave in at the last minute and agree to probation.
Now, having said all that, the law requires a judge to impose a few days in jail as a condition of probation on your 2nd and later DWIs. Perhaps this is what you're really asking about? There are alternative ways to serve this time including house arrest and a special work program run by the sheriff.
Bottom line is, if you have an otherwise clean record and your 2nd DWI in Texas didn't cause any damage to anyone else, whoever is telling you that you will be serving jail time is misleading you.
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