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How long can the state use a prior DWI convictions against me?

If you have prior DWI convictions, the prosecution can use previous offenses against you forever. Whether it’s been 10, 20, even 30 years since your prior conviction, the prosecution can use it to enhance your punishment for a current DWI conviction.

Using your prior conviction increases the grade of the DWI offense you are presently being prosecuted for. And that increases the range of punishment available to the state as well as the consequences of the current charge. For example, if you were convicted in 1992 for DWI and you are arrested for a DWI in 2018, you would be facing a DWI 2nd offense charge.

Probation or Deferred Adjudication

However, prior DWI convictions, where the offense was committed prior to January 1, 1984, cannot be used to enhance your punishment when the sentence resulted in probation and the probation was never revoked.

If you have a prior probation or deferred adjudication from another state, that may not be used against you, but if you were convicted of DWI in another state, it can be used to enhance your punishment–just like it would if you had gotten the prior conviction in Texas.

Restricted Occupational License

If you hold an occupational license and you are convicted of DWI, you can ask the judge if your license will be suspended. Then you can ask the court for a restricted occupational license that will allow you to go to work, religious services, pick up and drop off children at school — only places that you would NEED to go. The license would restrict the hours as well as the geography where you may drive.

However, if you have a prior DWI conviction within five years of your current arrest, you cannot get an restricted occupational license.