If you get a DWI for the third time, you may be charged with a felony. Punishments for a third offense of driving while intoxicating (DWI) include fines, a prison sentence, and driver suspension.
Most states have laws that forbid driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and Texas is no different. Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a misdemeanor in Texas for a first- and second-time offense in most instances. Third-time offenses may receive harsher punishments.
Texas Has Different Penalties for How Many Times You Get a DWI
The Texas Department of Transportation explains that if you have been charged with a third DWI in Texas, you could face a fine of $10,000, between two and 10 years in prison, and driver’s license suspension for up to two years.
Third DWI offenses are considered serious offenses. Additional penalties may include being placed on probation, being forced to submit to an ignition interlock device, being required to perform community service hours, and having to attend substance abuse treatment classes.
Other intoxication offenses are also outlined in the Texas Penal Code § 49.04. For instance, whether a first offense or third offense, a DWI with a child passenger is charged as a felony, according to Texas Penal Code § 49.045.
If you are in an accident while driving under the influence and you hurt someone, you could be charged with intoxication assault, which is a felony offense.
Intoxication manslaughter is when you kill someone in a car accident because you were driving intoxicated. This offense is a felony of the first degree and could put you in prison for two to 20 years.
Other Consequences You Could You Face if Convicted of a DWI
A DWI misdemeanor can impact your life in many negative ways. For example, your DWI could have caused you to lose your job. If you drive for a living, your employer could fire you because you lost your driver’s license. Alternatively, if a DWI led to your driver’s license being suspended and you do not have any other means of travel, you might lose your job because you do not have reliable transportation to go to work.
Some employers will not hire people who have any criminal record, which means even a misdemeanor DWI could cause you hardships.
Your DWI could also cause you to struggle financially because you may be forced to pay fines. If your license got suspended, you may need to pay for transportation costs to get around. If you caused someone else’s injuries or death in a DWI accident, you may have to face a personal injury lawsuit against you.
Other ways you could suffer from a DWI conviction include:
- Family relationship problems
- Embarrassment and self-esteem problems
- Money troubles related to your DWI
- Lack of employment prospects
- Increased penalties for subsequent offenses
A DWI Lawyer Can Help You Fight Against Criminal Charges
Depending on the details of your DWI conviction, you may still be able to fight off criminal charges. A Dallas DWI lawyer can assess your case and determine whether your rights were violated during a traffic stop or whether you have other legal defenses that can help you get your charges reduced or thrown out. Defenses are available against criminal charges, and your lawyer can help build a case against these charges.
Some defenses that could be available in your DWI case might include:
- Your rights were violated
- The crime lab made errors when analyzing your specimen
- The field sobriety tests were inaccurate
- There was not enough evidence to convict you
- There was a factual mistake
- You were mistaken for someone else
- You are a victim of entrapment
A lawyer can also advise you on how to improve your case from the beginning. Legal advice can help you make decisions that can prevent you from saying or doing something that could harm your case.
Your Texas criminal defense lawyer may be able to get you out of jail, and they can keep you informed of all legal proceedings. They may also be able to use their resources to get your license reinstated.
Connect With the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg
Learning what happens when you get a DWI for the third time is important because it can help you understand the consequences of a conviction. It is important that you do not give up on your future without a fight. You might be able to avoid a conviction or get your charges reduced with the right legal assistance.
It may be worth finding out more information about what your options are. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg by calling (214) 696-9253. You can tell us about your DWI case during a free consultation.