What Happens When You Get a 2nd DUI in Texas

Penalties for a second DUI in Texas include up to $4,000 in fines, up to a year in jail, and a two-year license suspension—and your car insurance rates increase.
Written by Andrea Barrett
Edited by Jessica Barrett
Penalties for a second DUI in Texas include up to $4,000 in fines, up to a year in jail, and a two-year license suspension—and that doesn’t even cover your
Texas car insurance
rate increase.
  • A second DWI offense in Texas comes with up to $4,000 in fines, state assessment fees, up to a year in jail, and a driver’s license suspension.
  • If there are aggravating factors involved, you could be charged with a higher-class misdemeanor or a felony.
  • Long-term fees for a second DUI in Texas can be upwards of $18,000.
  • A DUI on your driving record will increase car insurance rates significantly.

You’ll face fines, jail time, and license suspension for a 2nd DUI in Texas

When they said, “Don’t mess with Texas,” they weren’t kidding.
Texas DUI laws
are strict—even for first-time offenders—and the chances of getting your charges dropped, reduced, or expunged are slim and complicated.
If you’re charged with driving while intoxicated for the second time in the state of Texas, the date of your first conviction or whether or not you got the records expunged are irrelevant—the prior conviction will still count against you, which means serious consequences. 
The potential penalties for a second Texas DWI include:
  • Up to $4,000 in fines
  • Another $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 fee assessed by the state at sentencing
  • One month to one year in jail
  • Driver’s license suspension
    for up to two years
  • Ignition interlock device (IID)
It doesn’t end there. You might also face aggravating factors, which means your
charge will be enhanced to a higher-class misdemeanor or even a felony. Aggravating factors in Texas include:
  • Having a child in the car: If you’re charged with a DWI while a child younger than 15 is in the motor vehicle, you’ll be charged with a state jail felony. This carries a minimum 180-day jail sentence and up to $10,000 in fines. 
  • Breathalyzer test was significantly over the legal limit: A BAC of 0.08% is considered intoxicated in Texas. If caught driving with a higher than 0.15% BAC, you’ll be charged with an aggravated DWI, moving from a class B to a class A misdemeanor. 
  • Open container: Having an
    open container
    of alcohol in the car will also constitute an aggravated DWI.
  • Repeat offenses: Your 2nd DWI charge will likely be charged as an aggravated DWI. If you’re facing a third charge, it will probably be a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
  • Intoxication assault: If someone is injured due to your drunk driving, your DWI charge will be moved to the felony level, which could mean up to 10 years in prison and as much as $10,000 in fines. 
  • Intoxication manslaughter: When someone dies due to a driver’s intoxication, the driver will be charged with felony manslaughter and face up to 20 years in prison. 

Multiple DUIs can cost thousands over the long term

If you’re convicted of a second DWI in Texas, you could face thousands—or even tens of thousands—of dollars in losses. This includes court costs, attorney fees, state fines, and more. 
Here’s a breakdown of the financial consequences of getting a DWI in Texas.

Fees, penalty assessments, and DUI school

On top of the fees and penalty assessments from your first DWI, a 2nd DWI conviction in Texas comes with heavy penalties:
  • Fines: Up to $4,000, plus the state-assessed fine that may be as high as $6,000
  • Jail: Jail time is a possibility and could result in loss of income or your job
  • Driving course: DWI education program at your own expense—around $70 for first-time offenders, but $200 for a more intensive course often assigned to repeat offenders
  • License suspension
    : After your
    suspended license is reinstated
    for a second offense, you’ll have to pay the state an annual $1,500 surcharge for the following three years—a total of $4,500

Alternative transportation

You won’t be able to drive your car with a suspended license, so you’ll have to find another way to get around. 
Unless you can rely on the enduring generosity of friends and family, you’ll likely end up paying for public transportation, ridesharing services, and taxi service to get to work or run errands. The cost for this varies depending on where you live and how far away your job is. 

Increased car insurance costs 

When your license is reinstated, you’ll have to buy car insurance—and it doesn’t come cheap with a DUI conviction. 
  • On average, drivers with a second DUI on their
    Texas driving record
    see insurance rates about 80% higher than those with
    clean driving records
  • For a liability-only policy, the average annual cost for someone with a second DWI conviction is $4,140—that’s over $1,800 more than the state average
We haven’t even accounted for attorney’s fees yet, and we’re already tracking over $18,500 in expenses for a second DWI charge.

It’s possible to find affordable insurance after DUIs

To get your suspended driver’s license reinstated in Texas after a DWI conviction, Texas DWI laws require you to submit an
SR-22 insurance form
to the state. Your insurance company completes this on your behalf, providing proof that you carry the state-required minimum car insurance coverage. 
While having a first-offense DUI or DWI on your driving record is never ideal, a 2nd offense can be a doozy for your Texas car insurance rates.
Using a car insurance comparison tool like
can help you find affordable
car insurance
with a major moving violation on your record. In less than a minute, Jerry scans over 50 of the top insurance providers to find the best rate without sacrificing coverage. Best of all, there are no emails, phone calls, or paperwork—it’s completely hassle-free.


Yes—If you are convicted for the second time with a DWI, Texas law requires that you be sentenced to a minimum of 72 hours in jail.
No—Texas’s second chance law only applies to first-time offenders who are not likely to have a repeat offense. The requirements are strict and ensure no serious or repeat offenders can apply. To be eligible for the program, a person must meet the following:
  • The DWI is the applicant’s first offense
  • The DWI is classified as a misdemeanor (not a felony)
  • There were no injuries while driving under the influence
  • The applicant’s blood alcohol concentration was less than 0.15 at the time of the DWI arrest
  • The applicant cannot have any unrelated convictions on their driving record
The first two DWI convictions in Texas are considered misdemeanors—after that, you’re facing felony charges with much steeper DWI penalties and higher fines. You’ll be sentenced to no less than two years in prison if convicted of a third DWI.
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