Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a matter taken very seriously in the state of Texas. That’s because one in three traffic deaths involves a drunk driver.
Getting one DWI is no walk in the park. Getting a second one is also disastrous. But what if you’re facing your third DWI?
You’re probably asking yourself many questions. How does the third DWI differ from the first two? How will these charges affect you, your family, and your career?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to handle this alone. If you’re facing a third DWI offense, here are the next steps you should take, general DWI offense advice, and why you need a lawyer.
What Brought You Here?
Before we discuss the possible charges and penalties you’ll face, the first step is for you to reflect on what got you here in the first place.
As in many other states, you’re legally intoxicated in Texas when your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%. It doesn’t take a lot of alcohol to get to this level. However, most people learn their lesson after their first DWI. So if you have three DWIs, this is a sign of an underlying problem.
There’s also a reason why you should reflect on your multiple offenses. When the court sees you were driving while intoxicated multiple times, they may suspect substance abuse could be an issue.
Before going to court, ask yourself these questions:
- How often do I use alcohol and drugs?
- Why do I get behind the wheel of a car when I’m intoxicated?
- Do I need to go to rehab for substance abuse?
If you suspect you have a substance abuse problem, this isn’t something you should ignore. Talk about this with your family, friends, and a counselor.
You can also bring this up with your lawyer. The court may require you to go to substance abuse treatment, and this is something you and your lawyer can discuss in advance before going to court.
Does a Third DWI Differ From the First Two?
Getting a DWI is scary, let alone getting a third one. But how does the third DWI differ?
For one, a third DWI is no longer a misdemeanor. This is now a third-degree felony offense. Some of the penalties you face include higher fines, more jail time (between two and 10 years), community service, and possible substance abuse treatment.
With a felony DWI charge, you’ll lose some basic rights. For example, you’ll lose your license for two years. And you’ll have to pay a $2,000 surcharge every year for three years once you get your license back.
A felony charge alone restricts specific rights. For example, you won’t be able to own a firearm. You may not be able to hold a professional license, finding a job will be more difficult, and you’ll have issues obtaining a mortgage and even renting an apartment.
Because of the serious penalties you face, it’s important to have a lawyer on your side. They can negotiate with the judge to decrease your sentence and fines, allowing you to have your basic rights back.
What to Do Now
A third DWI is no laughing matter. There are two major steps you must take: consider substance abuse treatment and find a high-quality lawyer.
Substance Abuse Treatment
As stated previously, most people learn their lesson after their first DWI. With a third DWI, the courts may start suspecting you have a substance abuse problem.
It’s recommended you start looking into substance abuse treatment. If you’re not sure if rehab is right for you, you can see a counselor or attend substance abuse group meetings. The courts may require you to attend rehab or a detox clinic, so it’s a good idea to look into your treatment options.
Find a Lawyer
Don’t hesitate to find a lawyer. If anything, finding a lawyer should be the very first thing you should do. An experienced attorney will take a look at your unique case and will find a way to bargain with the judge. These details may include:
- Any injuries or lack thereof
- Sobriety test results
- If your DWI was the result of an accident
From here, your lawyer can use this information to devise a plea bargain. If you suspect you have a substance abuse problem, you and your lawyer can add treatment to the plea bargain. All of this can reduce your jail time.
Do This to Prevent a Fourth DWI
There’s another reason why you should take measures to not only protect yourself legally but also treat any substance abuse problems you have. All of this will prevent a fourth DWI, which is even more serious.
A fourth DWI is a second-degree felony. When this happens, you’re more likely to face jail time. A second-degree felony will also affect your personal and professional lives. You’ll face more fines and penalties.
Find the Best DWI Offense Lawyer
Are you facing a third DWI offense? If so, this offense is now considered a felony. It comes with many consequences that can affect your personal and professional lives. In addition, the penalties become more severe and you’ll face more jail time.
Because of all of these issues, you should never face a DWI alone. A lawyer can work out a plea bargain that will decrease the impact your third DWI has on your life.
Did you get a third DWI in Texas? If you’re based in Austin, contact the Hamilton and Grant law firm today.