• Justin Sparks

How Much Jail Time for 3rd DUI?

It is widely known that even though most DUIs are a misdemeanor, if someone recurrently commits these illegal acts, they could face terrible consequences. This would turn them into recurrent traffic offenders immediately, which is a permanent stain on their police records and can cause employment difficulty or harm the possibility of them getting a mortgage.


However, there is a possibility of reducing these consequences if the litigant makes the right choices. The first right choice they need to make is hiring a criminal defense lawyer who can walk them through the ins and outs of this process. If this is the third DWI offense, they probably already hired a lawyer, but this is the right moment to do it if they haven't.


This article is meant to showcase everything a person going through their third offense DWI should know before facing the judge.


What Constitutes a Third DUI Offense?

What Constitutes a Third DUI Offense?


Driving while intoxicated only becomes serious business after the third time an offense is committed. Some states only consider a specific number of years, but others, like the state of Texas, consider all the DWIs ever committed by the same person.


This means that it doesn't matter if the person has one or two previous DWI convictions from thirty years ago; if they have the third one now, it is going to immediately be considered a felony.


Moreover, the consequences tend to be very high, which is why most offenders usually don't hire a lawyer, as they believe they can't afford it. This is a huge mistake, as hiring a lawyer can potentially save them from having to face those punishments in the first place.


What Happens When You Get a 3rd DUI?


DWIs are graded depending on how many times the person commits them. The first DWI is a Type B misdemeanor, which could be punished with a fine of $2,000 or 180 days in county jail. Moreover, the second offense is a Class A misdemeanor. This is much more aggravated and could be punished with fines of up to $4,000 and from 30 days to a year in jail. A lawyer is extremely essential for you to have better chances of avoiding jail time for 3rd DUI.


However, the third DWI in Texas is a third-degree felony, which has extremely high consequences for the litigant and could forever stain their records. Some of these collateral consequences include having a bad reputation and the incapability to:

  • Own guns

  • Have a job

  • Vote

  • Get government benefits

  • Obtain housing


Nonetheless, the following are some direct consequences that people who commit a DWI third offense suffer.


DWI Conviction

This is going to depend on the case, but the litigant could spend anywhere between two and 10 years in prison. However, there is always the possibility of reducing that sentence with good behavior and a supervised release. This has to be approved by the court before the litigant can walk out freely.


Nonetheless, no matter what the sentence is, it is always going to be part of a plea deal that stipulates that the accused must spend at least 10 days in prison. Therefore, even if the person ends up free or only having to assist to AA meetings, they must still serve those 10 days in jail.


These plea deals are only going to be offered by the judge to the cases they seem fit, and the arrangements usually consist of assisting to rehab classes, community service, and DWI intervention programs to make up for the time not spent in jail and prevent future felony convictions.


Fines

Something that people don't usually say about getting a DWI in Texas is that the DWI charges are extremely expensive. The maximum fine that can be given to someone goes up to $10,000. Nonetheless, this isn't the only cost they must pay during the DWI process. Other costs include court costs, counseling fees, buying an interlock device, etc.


It is essential to consider that even though the judge may give the litigant a lower fine than the one stipulated, they are still going to get charged a lot of money.


Driver's License Suspension

Usually, driving privileges get revoked at the 3rd DWI in Texas. This suspension can either be permanent or only valid for two years. Nonetheless, after that time has passed, the litigant is probably going to require an ignition interlock device, which is meant to work as a portable substance abuse evaluation to prevent the car from starting if it detects any alcohol on the person's breath.


All of this doesn't come for free, as getting a new license also costs money. The total fee can add up to $2,000 per year.


How Can Felony Conviction Be Avoided for 3rd DUI?


The only way to avoid a DWI conviction after your 3rd DWI in Texas is by hiring an incredible lawyer who can do a proper investigation and create a strong enough defense that's going to convince the jury to lower the jail sentence.


Some of the main arguments that lawyers usually use are those that find any flaw in the process that might make it null, such as a broken breathalyzer, a lack of probable cause, or contamination of the blood test. They could also allege that the defendant's medical condition was the reason the tests showed those results and that for those reasons, they lacked the mental or physical faculties needed to drive.


Can the Defendant Get Their License Back After the Third DWI?

Can the Defendant Get Their License Back After the Third DWI?


Only if they win the criminal case and the DMV hearing. However, if this doesn't happen, they can always opt to install an IID, allowing them to drive freely as long as they're sober. However, if the defendant refuses to take a breath or blood test, this is completely impossible for at least three years.


Bottom Line


Sometimes, the only option left after a third offense DWI conviction is to find the best DWI attorney in Fort Worth and hire them to face the situation. If you are facing other issues such as beating a DUI refusal, you will be needing the help of a good lawyer as well. Luckily, Sparks Law Firm has the best Texas law experts with hundreds of successful cases in the past years.