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  • Writer's pictureJustin Sparks

How to Avoid Jail Time for 3rd DUI

DUIs and DWIs are extremely severe criminal offenses that many people tend to commit throughout their lives. Thousands of people get killed every year in the US because of drunk-driving accidents. Therefore, the state insists on appropriately penalizing those who decide to commit this crime.

However, it can be easily solved by an experienced lawyer the first two times a person has a DWI. It becomes a serious problem once the third DUI happens, as they could even face the probability of going to jail.

This article is meant to showcase all the steps that need to be taken to avoid serving a jail sentence after the third DUI and all the essential things people who go through this should know to ensure their safety.

What Is a Third Degree Felony DWI?

What Is a Third Degree Felony DWI?

A third DUI conviction is considered a felony conviction in several states of America. These felonies are the second-least severe type of felony but are more severe than misdemeanors and infractions. However, they're still less alarming than second-degree, first-degree, and capital felonies.

DWI criminals can stay in prison for up to 10 years, and the maximum fine for these sentences can be as high as $10,000. Moreover, many collateral consequences happen when a person gets any felony, making their lives more difficult later.

Keep in mind that some third-degree felonies can become two-degree if some aggravating factors develop during the felony. Nonetheless, this is rare in a DWI conviction.

What Are the Differences from the First and Second DWI?

Each time someone commits a DWI, this aggravates the severity of the case. This happens because the state sees a prior conviction as a red alert. Therefore, they assume the criminal hasn't learned their lesson. It immediately frames the person as a dangerous individual for themselves and their people.

However, the severity of the verdict is also going to be determined by the conditions of the previous two DWIs.

First Offense

First offenses are the least severe of all convictions, as the state offers them the possibility to delete their criminal record as long as they don't incur in the act again. Most cases usually demand 24 hours in jail and a fine from $300 to $1,000. However, they could be convicted to up to 12 months of a jail sentence if they don't have a good lawyer by their side.

Other consequences are a driver's license suspension and around 40 hours of community service. Nonetheless, if the litigant is less than 21 years old, they are most likely to find problems and delays when getting their driver's license.

Second Offense

On the other hand, once a second offense happens, the person is going to have to spend a minimum of 72 hours in jail and might get their license suspended for three years. The fine range also increases to $600 and $1,000, and they might have to do community service for 30 days.

If the license gets suspended, the person is going to have to pay a pretty expensive fee to get it reinstated. They could also be sent to rehab, and the state may insist on them installing an ignition interlock device to allow them to drive again, but this option isn't always available for the defendant.

However, a 3rd DWI can't be erased from the criminal records, and all the defendant's documentation is going to be kept by the police for future identification and tracking.

What Is a Wash-out Period?

A wash-out period is a given time frame that allows the prior convictions of DUI offenders to "wash out" from your records once it has passed. This means that the DWIs committed before that time can't be considered when adding up the total misdemeanors.

Hence, this can sometimes make it complicated to calculate the total number of offenses. However, this period changes in each state, it can range from five to 10 years, but some states don't have a wash-out period.

Moreover, this is valuable to consider for third-time offenders. If enough time has passed since their first DWI, they shouldn't be judged with a third DWI. Instead, they should be prosecuted as a regular misdemeanor.

However, this only allows the person to have three DWIs throughout their life. Once a fourth incident happens, the wash-out period can't be used anymore, and they are going to be prosecuted as a felony.

Aggravating Factors

Several factors could contribute to aggravating the criminal act. Therefore, everyone should be aware of these conditions that could get them in more serious trouble. These factors could even give more criminal charges to the defendant, who usually gets a plea deal to remove them from their record. Some of these aggravators are:

  • Causing an accident

  • Injuring people

  • Having a BAC of 0.15% or higher

  • If a passenger is 15 years old or less

  • Refusing a breath or blood test

  • Using a fake ID

  • Reckless driving or high speed

  • Resisting arrest or causing disturbs

Pre-trial Conditions for a Third Offense DUI

The final consequences aren't the only thing that changes when someone goes through a third DWI conviction; the pre-trial conditions are also going to be a lot stronger than in a previous conviction. Moreover, the bail amount is most likely going to be increased, and the person could even be forced to have home detention. Tracking devices could also be worn by the offender to ensure the local police department knows where they are at all times.

The best thing that can be done is to follow these conditions as well as possible, as any infractions are only going to weaken the case.

Preparation for Trial on a Third DUI

Hiring DWI lawyers in Fort Worth who can prepare a solid defense and fight back the prosecutor is a fantastic idea. This should be done as soon as the litigant gets arrested, as third a DWI conviction is quite severe, and the judge is going to want to put them behind bars as quickly as possible.

The first 72 hours after getting released are crucial if the defendant plans on winning the case.

Third DUI Conviction Consequences

A third DWI conviction has serious consequences that could harm people's well-being and make it impossible to do certain things in the future.

Jail Time

How much jail time is there for 3rd DUI offense? The driver could face a jail sentence between two and 10 years. However, the mandatory minimum sentence is of 15 days in jail.


The driver could pay fines of around $1,000 and $10,000. However, much more money is going to be spent on lawyers, court costs, license renewals, etc.


Another option to avoid jail is to qualify for rehab or DWI intervention programs. This is only possible when the defendant shows enough remorse and responsibility for their actions.

House Arrest

This consists of not allowing the defendant to leave their house. Some conditions apply, as the judge could let them go to work and rehab. However, in most cases, they are going to be wearing a location tracker to prevent them from breaking the rules.

Moreover, the police are free to do random searches on the defendant's property.

License Suspension

A third DWI case could make the defendant lose their driving privileges altogether, but sometimes, they are allowed to keep driving with an ignition interlock device.

Other Penalties

When facing a third DWI case, the defendant faces some natural consequences. Some of them are the following.

  • Losing the right to vote

  • Unemployment

  • An increase to the prices of insurances

  • Loss of professional license

  • Having problems finding housing

Probation Phase

Another option to avoid a prison sentence in 3rd DWI cases is entering and passing probation, which sets up a series of rules for the defendant to obey if they don't want to be sent to prison. This would include staying sober for some time, paying restitution to the victims, meeting regularly with a police officer, etc.

Is an Attorney Necessary?

Yes, the first step anyone needs to take after getting arrested with DUI charges is to call an attorney who can explain the whole process and fight their case. An experienced attorney is going to make sure to win a good deal for their client. Even though free consultation is always available, it is not recommendable for the defendant to try and defend themselves.

How to Create a Strong Case Against a DWI Conviction

How to Create a Strong Case Against a DWI Conviction

Firstly, the attorney must investigate every aspect of the rest and procedure that might be out of place to prevent the grand jury from choosing prison time for their client. This is going to allow the criminal defense lawyer to allege that all the needed requirements to convict their clients aren't as solid as they should be.

Some common defenses are a broken sobriety test, a mistake done by the arresting officer, or the defendant's lack of mental and physical health.

Bottom Line

When someone finds themselves in trouble because of a DUI conviction, Sparks Law Firm is always going to be there with a professional DUI lawyer with years of experience in Texas law ready to fight for their safety and freedom. Having a good lawyer also affects how long can a DUI case stay open.


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