The Lone Star State takes drunk driving seriously. Those convicted for their first DWI face severe consequences, including fines, driver’s license suspension, and jail sentences. A second conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol can result in harsher penalties.
While a certain level of leniency exists for first and even second-time drunk drivers, those who find themselves pulled over and subsequently charged with a third drunk driving conviction face life-altering consequences.
The life-changing impact of a third strike
A third drunk driving charge is a felony in Texas. Many states have limited lookback periods that have a limit on when a prior infraction occurred. The state places no limitations on when a conviction occurs. It would count as a third strike even if the arrest occurred decades ago.
Three DWI convictions are a path to a prison sentence lasting a minimum of two years to a maximum of no more than ten years. While a minimum of ten days is required in a plea bargain, many third-time offenders will be granted supervised release, provided they can avoid another arrest.
Equally impactful both criminally and financially is installing an ignition interlock device (IID), mandating that you blow into it for the vehicle to start. The slightest indication of alcohol will now allow any forward motion of a car.
A three-time DWI offender can also take a further hit in the wallet with significant fines of thousands of dollars, not to mention expenses for court, counseling, and other financial penalties. That does not include surcharges required for license reinstatement.
Qualifying for probation is possible, with prosecutors required to offer that when it comes to a plea deal, pending a judge’s approval. Various scenarios exist that include intervention programs, alcohol addiction counseling, and a specified number of hours of community service.
Complex and high-stakes criminal matters require a skilled and experienced attorney to minimize the impact of severe felony charges.