Moving Beyond a DWI 2nd Offense: Texas Rehabilitation Programs For Repeat DWI Offenders:

With statistics showing that the average drunk driver has driven under the influence more than 80 times before their first arrest, it can be said that a Texas DWI 2nd offense is a tell-tale sign of an addiction. In the Lone Star State alone, 30% of all DWI convictions are the result of repeat offenders, making it evident that there is often a lack of rehabilitation for drunk drivers. With the state now offering (or mandating) a variety of programs aimed at addiction treatment and reducing recidivism, those charged with a Texas DWI 2nd offense are often given a real opportunity to turn their lives around. For those resistant to receiving treatment, here’s an overview of the most common rehabilitation programs for those with repeat DWI charges and the various benefits that these programs provide. 

DWI Court: 

Depending on where your DWI took place, your case may be eligible for DWI court. DWI court is a specialized drug court that focuses on working with repeat offenders to break their habits by attending alcohol treatment programs and taking accountability for their actions.

One well known Texas drug court is the Saving Ourselves By Education and Recovery or the SOBER Court of Harris County. The Harris County SOBER Court is a nine to 24 month voluntary program similar to probation. Those eligible for SOBER Court can pay $60 a month to avoid jail time and instead follow a six hour a week outpatient program while attending routine court appearances, installing an ignition interlock device in all personal vehicles, and submitting random drug and alcohol tests. 

The SOBER Court helps anywhere from 150 to 160 individuals at any given time and has a variety of success stories including Johnny Hernandez. Hernandez started Harris County, Texas SOBER court after being charged with his second DWI offense when driving home from a bar on a Saturday night and crashing into a wall. After finding sobriety with the SOBER court, Hernandez now feels overall healthier and with a clear mindset has nearly doubled his small business earnings, providing him and his family with a positive outlook on the future.  

In general, DWI courts have been shown to reduce recidivism by nearly 50% compared to traditional court models. This success is largely attributed to the regular meetings between a participant, their treatment and probation staff, and the judge. Since a participant is closely monitored, the type of treatment and its duration can be adjusted to increase the likelihood of rehabilitation.

Jail-based Treatment:

While similar in many aspects to DWI court, jail-based treatment for a Texas DWI 2nd offense is court ordered. Many individuals will opt for a jail sentence instead of DWI court since it is often shorter, however, the court will often still impose jail based treatment. Legal pressure to complete addiction treatments such as in-jail or as a condition of probation or parole has actually been shown to have a positive impact on treatment retention, with study groups showing that jail-based treatment can significantly lower drug and alcohol use.

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Voluntary Outpatient: 

Those who are facing DWI second offense charges may find it beneficial to attend a voluntary rehab program. While having a case in pendency can be an incredible cause of stress, if you have several months before your case wraps up it should be spent in outpatient recovery. By simply attending an outpatient program, you will not only jumpstart your recovery and help get your life on track but create a good impression with the court. 

Voluntarily going to rehab will prove to the court that you are remorseful of your actions and are willing to be rehabilitated. For a simple Texas DWI 2nd offense this may secure your candidacy for a DWI court program. In more complicated cases that are likely to make it to trial, attending rehab can potentially impact a judge’s sentencing and encourage leniency.

While it is understandably difficult to accept being an addict, a Texas DWI 2nd offense should provide a wake-up call that it is time to change. With Texas providing a variety of rehabilitation programs for those struggling with driving under the influence, it is up to you to turn a dark mistake into a positive change.

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