What can I Expect from a Second DWI?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 January 2020
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Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a serious criminal offense in many countries. Penalties are stiff for first time offenders, but the consequences of a second DWI can be even more severe. Each jurisdiction has its own laws determining the fate of a person with two drunk driving offenses, but you can expect them to include some combination of vehicle impounding, losing your license, mandatory alcohol treatment and the requirement to use an ignition interlock device.

Losing a driver's license is the most common punishment for a second DWI. When a driver's license is revoked, this makes the act of driving an automobile illegal, even if you are sober. Usually, when this punishment is given by the judge, it is because he or she does not feel that you are responsible enough to maintain a license and are a threat to yourself and the public because of your drunk driving history. The amount of time for which the license is revoked varies from place to place and typically ranges from as little as 180 days to as long as three years.


Vehicle impounding is a frequent tactic to punish you and discourage more drunk driving after your second DWI. This punishment usually is served in tandem with loss of a license, but the judge might be concerned that even though you do not have a license, you still might attempt to drive. Impounding your automobile is seen as a way of better ensuring that you do not break the law by driving while intoxicated. It is rare for a second offense to result in impounding, but it is a frequent addition if your blood alcohol content (BAC) was particularly high or if there were other risks, such as passengers in the car.

Mandatory alcohol education and treatment also are possible if you are charged with a second DWI. These classes frequently show you what kind of damage can be done to yourself and to others from driving under the influence. Treatment consists primarily of counseling in order to discourage you from driving after drinking.

Another attempt at curbing your driving habits after you are charged with a second DWI is the inclusion of an ignition interlock device on your car. This is a machine that is linked to a car's ignition and requires you to blow into a device that can detect alcohol on your breath. If you have no alcohol in your system, the car will start, but if there are traces of alcohol, the engine will not start. Judges might require this if you can prove that you need a car in order to make a living.


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