Did you know that roughly 1.5 million people are arrested every year for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs? A DWI charge holds a lot of weight since individuals not only endanger their own lives but the lives of others.
While the state of Texas may be lenient toward a first or second DWI offense, things change by the third. The penalties and punishments get much more serious after your 3rd DWI in Texas.
If you don’t plan your defense properly, then you could face a lot of jail time. So how do you plan your defense?
In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about defending against your third DWI. But first, you must understand what you’re up against. Let’s explore some of the consequences of a third DWI.
Why Is A 3rd Strike DWI So Serious?
One of the main reasons why a 3rd strike DWI carries more weight than the first and second is that it can be charged as a felony. Texas law also applies more strict conditions to jail release bonds.
Even if you’re granted probation, the judge will still require a mandatory ten-day jail period. Though lawyers often fight these special bond conditions, the courts almost always uphold them.
What Are The Punishments For Your 3rd DWI in Texas?
There are five main punishments and penalties that accompany an individual’s third DWI conviction. We’ll cover each of them briefly. However, if you want to go into more detail, then you can visit this link here.
Your third DWI comes with a maximum fine of $10,000. The judge doesn’t need to sentence this full price but keep in mind that there are other costs you will need to consider too.
This price also doesn’t cover things like counseling costs, court costs, and ignition interlock device costs.
Jail Time and Probation
As we mentioned before, a third DWI conviction is a third-degree felony charge. As such, it comes with mandatory jail time.
A judge must sentence you to at least 2 years of jail time in Texas on your third strike and they cannot sentence you to more than ten years in jail. However, these sentences are often misleading since there is also the option of probation.
Keep in mind that if you follow the rules and comply with your sentence, then you likely won’t end up serving the entire duration of your sentence. However, keep in mind that the probation that accompanies your third DWI conviction is no cakewalk.
The court can impose up to two years of probation. It comes with a minimum of 160 hours and a maximum of 600 hours of community service. You will also need to attend substance abuse counseling and take part in DWI prevention classes.
A plea bargain is usually a good way to speed up the process of your probation. But, even this sentence comes with a mandatory ten-day period in jail.
Suspension of Driver’s License
After your third DWI conviction in Texas, you will get your license suspended for at least six months and a maximum of two years.
To revoke your license suspension, you will also need to use an ignition interlock device which we’ll cover in the next section. Revoking your license suspension also costs a lot of money.
You will need to purchase the ignition interlock device and a DMV license charge of $2000 a year for three years.
Ignition Interlock Device
An ignition interlock device is a device that attaches to the steering wheel of your vehicle. To start the car, the device requires you to blow a deep air sample so it can check your blood alcohol level.
Once it reports a clean reading the vehicle will turn on. As we mentioned, these devices can get quite expensive and you will be required to pay for them.
Other DWI Consequences
In addition to these other punishments, you also face other indirect consequences if you are convicted of a third-class felony. For example, you may lose any licenses you have. Many workplaces and housing communities also do not accept felons.
You will also lose the right to possess firearms, the right to vote and the right to certain government benefits. Many individuals also find that a third DWI offense also affects their reputation and relationship with friends and family.
Best Defense Against A 3rd Offense DWI
The first and best defense against your 3rd DWI offense is a fantastic lawyer. Fighting for acquittal is your best chance of dodging a lifetime felony charge.
Generally, when you’re looking for an attorney, there are several things you should always look out for. First, make sure that they offer free consultations — otherwise, it may be a predatory company.
You should also make sure that they come with a good industry reputation. They should also specialize in the DWI case that you’re facing. Finally, they need to be accessible.
There’s no telling when you may need to contact your lawyer, so make sure that they’re available when you need them the most. Make sure to check out all our advice on what you should look for when it comes to finding a criminal defense attorney.
Need A Texas Attorney For Your 3rd DWI Case? Contact James Fletcher Law
We hope this article helped you learn more about the consequences of your 3rd DWI in Texas and how to defend yourself against it. If you need any help battling your DWI case, then look no further than James Fletcher Law.
Whether it’s your first conviction or third, we will fight as hard as possible to get you the best sentence possible. Here at James Fletcher Law, we know how hard it is to be wrongfully accused of a DWI charge.
Both of our partners specialize in DWI cases, so you won’t find someone better equipped for your case. You can contact our law office and schedule a consultation today by following this link.