Your Third DWI Could Come With Some Serious Penalties

Those with existing DWI convictions should be careful – regardless of how your existing DWI convictions have been handled, receiving a third could spell trouble. Any DWI charge is a serious matter, but Texas law specifies that the third DWI on your record carries much heavier penalties than the first two. While the simplest solution is to avoid drinking and driving at all, we’re here to make sure you’re aware of the law surrounding a third DWI charge.

What About My Previous Charges?

Unlike other states with “look-back” periods after which a DWI charge does not count toward your total, Texas takes into consideration any charge, regardless of how old they are. Even if you completed a pretrial diversion program for your first DWI charge, it will still be counted. Any out-of-state convictions for DWI can also count toward your total. For these reasons, you should include any DWI conviction in your count.

What Happens on My Third?

On your third DWI, the offense will be elevated to a “habitual DWI” charge. Most importantly, a habitual DWI charge is a third-degree felony. As such, it comes with substantially higher consequences. The bail for a third DWI is typically set at $10,000 or more, and if you do choose to bond, it may come with restrictions such as limited travel, drug testing, and regular reporting to an officer.

Because it is a felony-level offense, the sentencing normally involves prison time. The limits for the sentence are set at between two and ten years. Note that prison is not the same as a jail; prison involves a higher security state penitentiary for more severe crimes, whereas jail is often a smaller county-run facility for lesser offenses. The opportunity for probation is determined by the court, but in almost all cases, will not be available for a third charge. If you are able to negotiate for probation, you will still be required to serve a minimum of ten days in jail. You may also be required to fulfill community service hours, substance abuse classes, or other DWI intervention programs.

Further penalties include up to $10,000 in fines, a two-year suspension of your driver’s license, likely higher insurance prices, the loss of your right to vote, and the ability to own firearms. After two years, you will likely only be allowed to drive your vehicle after installing an ignition interlock device, which prevents you from starting the car unless you complete a breathalyzer. Unlike a police breathalyzer, you will fail a test on the ignition interlock device if it detects any alcohol at all.

Whether you’re facing your first charge or your third, we’re here to help. Contact The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III at (713) 227-4100 today to schedule your consultation.

The following two tabs change content below.

The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III

Our firm’s founder, Charles A. Banker III, has been a solo criminal defense practitioner with offices in Houston and McAllen, TX for over 30 years. He understands what it means to work independently in today’s hyperconnected world, but he also knows that sometimes you need to lean on others.

Latest posts by The Law Offices of Charles A. Banker, III (see all)