• Justin Sparks

What Is a 3rd degree DWI Third Offense?

According to the State of Texas, when a person has two prior DWI convictions and is arrested and charged with an additional DWI, this is now classified as a DWI third offense. A third DWI is a severe offense and can be considered a third-degree felony conviction, resulting in severe punishment.


Punishment for a Third Degree DWI Include but Are Not Limited to:

  • Disqualification from voting or possessing a firearm

  • Mandated annual $1,500 to $2,000 surcharge fee for three years to retain the individual's driver's license

  • A suspension of their driver's license for 180 days to two years

  • Between two and 10 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

  • A fine of up to $10,000


If someone's current charge is a third-degree DWI, they should consider seeking legal counsel from a professional DWI defense law firm with experience handling DWI, DWI second, and DWI third offense cases. Based on the circumstances and court process, the severity of DWI third charges may vary significantly. It's good to note that all of the above cases are serious and may benefit from the assistance of legal counsel.


Why a Person Should Aggressively Fight a First or Second DWI Conviction

Why a Person Should Aggressively Fight a First or Second DWI Conviction


Second-degree DWI is weighted and complicated, similar to its third-degree DWI counterpart. The jury will be informed at the start that the motorist has multiple convictions in the case of a third DWI or a prior DWI conviction if it is their second offense.


This suggests to the jury that the driver may have a propensity for driving while intoxicated or have extreme habits of substance abuse. The defendants' rights may be infringed upon due to this biased provision of information, putting the trial against them before it sees the courtroom.


It is often best to fight the subsequent or initial charges due to the challenge of representing against DWI third and DWI second charges. This can help the defendant avoid consecutive charges with more aggravating factors.


DWI Third Offense Limits on Probation


A person will be required to serve a 10-day jail sentence even if they are granted probation for a DWI third offense conviction. They will receive penalties prohibiting good time credit in prison until half of their sentence has been satisfied if they were driving the vehicle in a manner that made it a "deadly weapon."


Finding controlled substances in the vehicle may also limit circumstances under which the individual may receive probation from a jury.


Vehicle Interlock Device


The court will require that the person install a vehicle ignition interlock device on their motor vehicle as a condition of bond for their third-degree DWI; they will be prohibited from driving an automobile without one.


An interlock device requires that the person breathes into it, and it limits the car's mobility if detection is positive. The court will also order the offender to abstain from using controlled substances without a prescription or use alcohol. A court may enforce random testing to ensure the person follows the probationary rules. For additional information, find out how many DUI before breathalyzer in the car.


Further Consequences


The individual charged may be asked to entirely abstain from operating an automobile while their case is pending. It was mentioned previously that the court would also order them to stop using alcohol and controlled substances without a prescription. In line with this, we also help clients in cases like fighting a DUI charge for prescription drugs.


Prior Convictions and DWI


The prosecutor can use a prior DWI criminal offense from 10 to 30 years ago to enhance the person's current DWI conviction. Prior conviction increases the grade of DWI defense the individual is being prosecuted for and increases the consequences of the current charge and the range of punishments available to the state.


However, if the offender was convicted of DWI before January 1, 1984, that first-degree DWI cannot be used again.


Additional Consideration and Defense

Additional Consideration and Defense


In order to be used to enhance a DWI to a felony DWI, the judgment must have a proper voluntary waiver of the jury trial. A previous gross misdemeanor, such as sexual assault or another severe matter will also hinder the court's decision on additional consequences.


Even one aggravating factor can change the person's driving record and what DWI charges they are subject to. It is recommended to contact a Fort Worth DWI law firm like Sparks Law Firm for a free consultation if an offender is in this sticky situation. A second-degree felony is not taken lightly in the eyes of Texas law, and the person could see up to one year of jail time.


Jail Time


Third and fourth-degree DWI cases are considered severe felony offenses in Texas. While a first-time criminal offense will be treated with a level of understanding and leniency, the penalties for a third gross misdemeanor offense reflect how stringent the Texas lawmakers are on repeat offenders.


A conviction for a third-degree DWI offense will result in a mandatory minimum jail sentence of two years and no longer than 10 years. With the help of a DWI attorney, it's possible to probate the two-year criminal charges to something shorter.


That means as long as they stay out of trouble and comply with the supervised release program, the person will be able to avoid serving most of their days in jail. Depending on aggravating factors in the criminal case, the deciding of the verdict ultimately boils down to the judge.


It's worth mentioning that even with a plea to probate the felony offense, the individual case will still involve the person spending a minimum of 10 days in jail; this sentence cannot be probated or waived.


The judge will also need to approve all bargain pleas of the convicted person. They may be required to perform up to 500 hours of community service, participate in a DWI intervention program, and attend substance abuse counseling classes to complete probation.


Hire a DWI Attorney


Drunk driving and a high blood alcohol concentration level are the most common crimes that police deal with daily. An aggravating factor could be a probable cause for law enforcement to arrest a suspect.


If someone faces criminal charges for a crime or misdemeanor they did or did not commit in Texas, they should contact a lawyer from Sparks Law Firm. Clients are treated with dignity plus respect and receive an authentic attorney-client relationship that is honored wholly.

Maybe after this piece, the next time someone is over the legal limit and their alcohol concentration level is high, they may consider not driving.