More than one million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you’ve had a DUI conviction, you know that it can seriously affect multiple aspects of your life.
What happens when you get more than one DUI? What happens if you get three?
If you’re facing your third DUI, jail time might be in your future. Let’s take a look at what you need to know.
What Constitutes a Third DUI Offense in Texas?
In Texas, a DUI is referred to as a DWI, standing for driving while intoxicated. This is an incredibly serious matter whether it happens once or more than that. There isn’t any ambiguity when it comes to what counts as a 3rd DWI offense according to Texas Law.
In some other states, there is a “look back” period. This means that they will only look back a certain number of years to see if you’ve had prior convictions. However, Texas is not one of these states.
This means that it doesn’t matter how long ago you got your two previous DWIs. You could have two DWIs forty years ago and another DWI will count as your third and therefore a felony.
Classifications of DWI Convictions
If you get a DWI in Texas for the first time, it is considered a Class B misdemeanor. For this level of offense, you can serve up to 180 days in the county jail and pay a fine of as much as $2,000.
When you get your second DWI conviction, this is considered a Class A misdemeanor in the state of Texas. This is the most severe kind of misdemeanor offense you can be convicted of. As a consequence of this conviction, you can receive a jail sentence of between 30 days and one year and pay a fine of as much as $4,000.
If you get your third DWI offense in the state of Texas, it is no longer a misdemeanor. This is considered a third-degree felony. In the next section, we’ll take a look at what the consequences of this conviction could mean.
3rd DUI: Jail Time and Other Consequences
While the consequences for an individual’s first two DWIs are severe, getting a third DWI conviction means you will likely spend more time in jail, pay more in fines, and suffer more additional penalties.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, a judge might order you to spend anywhere between two and ten years in prison. While there is a minimum sentencing of two years, it is possible for the majority of that sentence to be probated by the court. That means that you can sometimes avoid serving a large portion of your sentence if you stay out of trouble and comply with a supervised release program.
Ultimately, your sentence is up to the judge. It’s important to know that even if your sentence is probated as a part of a plea deal, there is a minimum requirement as a part of any plea deal of serving at least ten days in jail. This jail time can’t be probated or waived.
You might be offered probation as a part of a plea bargain if you qualify for it. This plea bargain will have to be approved by a judge. In order to finish probation, you might be required to attend substance abuse classes or counseling, 600 hours of community service, and participate in DWI intervention programs.
When you get convicted of your third DUI, there will be fines on top of jail time. The maximum fine you can be required to pay is $10,000. The judge, however, isn’t required to give you the full fine amount.
It’s important to note that there are lots of other costs to getting a third DUI conviction other than the fines you’re required to pay. There will also be counseling fees, court costs, interlock device costs, and other expenses. It can be incredibly expensive to get a DUI conviction.
Driver’s License Suspension
On top of jail time and fines, your third DUI conviction will result in your driving priveleges being suspended. With each conviction you receive, there are additional administrative penalties.
When you get a DWI for the third time, your license will most likely be suspended for two years. Once you do get your license back, the court will probably require that an IID (ignition interlock device) be installed in your vehicle. These devices require you to essentially take a breathalizer test every time you get in your car and won’t start if it detects alcohol on your breaht.
There are also costs associated with getting your license suspended. Reinstating your license will cost money and you’ll face a licensing fee surcharge for three years of $2,000 a year.
If the previously listed consequences haven’t scared you yet, take a look at some of the additional consequences you might face. These include:
- No longer having the right to own a firearm
- Losing employment
- Losing the right to vote
- Having a hard time finding housing
- Losing a professional license
- No longer able to receive certain government benefits
- Negatively impacting your reputation
Getting a DWI is a serious event, and getting three can really change your life.
Find a DUI Attorney to Represent You
When you get a 3rd DUI, jail time, fines, and many other consequences await you in the state of Texas. The outcome of your case can change the course of your life. This is why it’s important to find a DUI attorney who fight your charge.
Are you facing your 3rd DUI? Contact our DUI Lawyer of Collin County today!