Your friend really needs to consult with an attorney before going to court. DWI has a number of very serious pitfalls and collateral consequences, and he needs to understand everything before making a decision on what to do with the case.
Texas has abolished the 10-year rule with respect to DWIs, meaning that for enhancement purposes, the person can be charged with a DWI from no matter how far back. A conviction for DWI stays on a person's record forever, and you cannot receive deferred adjudication for a DWI (although you can for murder...go figure that one out...).
Therefore, most likely, the new DWI will be treated as his second DWI. A 2nd dwi is a class A misdemeanor carrying a range of punishment of up to 1 year in county jail, and up to a $4000 fine. He could also get probation in lieu of jail time for up to 2 years (3 with an additional amendment and extension).
As for his license, DWI has really 2 different license suspensions. The first is an administrative suspension. If he refused to blow, or if he blew and had an alcohol concentration over the legal limit, his license will be suspended administratively by DPS. The second suspension comes from the court if he is found guilty of the charge itself. If either of these apply to his situation, he will need to petition the court for an occupational license.
In addition to the criminal consequences, if he is found guilty of DWI, he will also have to pay surcharges over the next 3 years amounting to thousands of dollars just to keep his driver's license. This is why it is SO important for him to hire an attorney so as to limit the consequences of a conviction, or try to work out an alternate charge.
If this is in the State of Texas, this case should be charged as a DWI-2nd (Class A Misdemeanor) regardless of how long ago his prior conviction for DWI was. He has two cases against him right now: a criminal charge and an administrative license suspension.
The criminal case carries up to 1 year in the county jail or up to years of probation and a fine of up to $4,000. The criminal case requires a mandatory driver's license suspension of between 180 days to one year. If convicted, he will also face a $1000 to $1500/year surcharge for three years in order to keep his driver's license.
The second case, the administrative license revocation, requires that your friend request a hearing on his driver's license within 15 days of his arrest. If the actual date of his conviction or prior ALR suspension was within 10 years of the date of his arrest, his license can be suspended 1 year for a failed breath or blood test and 2 years for a refusal to provide a specimen. If it's outside the 10 year period, then his license will be suspended for 90 days for a failure and 180 days for a refusal. These suspensions are not necessarily concurrent, so he could be looking at having to get a limited-use occupational driver's license for the next 2 years or so (depending on which suspensions apply).
He needs to hire a criminal defense/DWI attorney to represent him in this case as these consequences are no walk in the park.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided as a public service and as a general response to a general question, it is not meant, and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.
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