What is a DWI 3rd or more and the potential punishment?

According to the State of Texas, a DWI third offense is when an individual is arrested for DWI and has previously been convicted two times of DWI.

If you are convicted of a third DWI, this third-degree felony can result in

  • A fine up to $10,000
  • Between two and 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice
  • Driver license suspension from 180 days to two years.
  • A mandated annual $1,500-$2,000 surcharge fee every year for 3 years in order to retain your driver’s license.
  • Disqualification from voting and possessing a firearm

Why you should aggressively fight a first or second DWI offense

DWI 3rd cases are like a DWI 2nd in that the jury is told from the beginning that the driver had a prior DWI convictions. Like the DWI 2nd, this information suggests that the defendant has a habit or propensity to drive while intoxicated, but with a DWI 3rd it’s worse. Here, the jury is unfairly informed of TWO prior DWI convictions infringing upon the defendant’s right to the presumption of innocence. It wrongly suggests that “where there is smoke there must have been fire.” This is why it’s vital to aggressively fight DWI 1st and 2nd charges.

DWI Third Offense Limits on Probation

Even if you are granted probation, you are still required to serve a 10-day jail sentence. If you drove the vehicle in a way that made it a “deadly weapon,” you’ll receive an additional penalty prohibiting good time credit in prison (which is considered for early release) until half of your sentence has been satisfied. A deadly weapon finding may also limit the circumstances in which you may receive probation from a jury.

Vehicle Interlock Device

As a condition of bond for your DWI third offense, the court will require you to install a vehicle ignition interlock device on your car, and you will not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle without one. The interlock device determines the presence of alcohol in your breath and, if the it detects a certain level of alcohol, the vehicle will be temporarily disabled. The court will also order you to stop using alcohol and controlled substances without a prescription and enforce it through random drug testing. The court may also order you not to operate a motor vehicle while your case is pending.

Prior Convictions and DWI

The prosecution can use offenses (including prior DWI convictions) from 10, 20, even 30 years ago to enhance your current DWI conviction. This history increases the grade of the DWI offense you are presently being prosecuted for which increases the range of punishment available to the state as well as the consequences of the current charge.

However, if you were convicted of DWI prior to January 1, 1984, it cannot be used for enhancement purposes when the sentence resulted in probation and the probation was never revoked. The judgment must have a proper voluntary waiver of jury trial in order to be used to enhance a DWI to a felony DWI.