If you have prior DWI convictions, either in Texas or another state, a third-offense can be substantially more serious than your previous charges. In many cases, prosecutors charge a third or subsequent DWI as a felony, which can have far-reaching consequences. Because the penalties can be harsh, contacting a Dallas third-offense DWI lawyer may be highly beneficial.
Obtaining experienced legal representation when charged with felony DWI can be instrumental in avoiding some of the serious repercussions. Not only must you fight back against the DWI charges, but you also must try to prevent your previous convictions from enhancing your sentence. In this situation, an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to provide you with the legal assistance you need.
Penalties in Third-Offense Felony DWI Cases
Under Texas Penal Code § 49.09, individuals who have two prior convictions for DWI or selected DWI-related offenses may face third-degree felony charges. These offenses include operating a watercraft while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.
Under Tex. Pen. Code § 12.34, conviction on a third-degree felony offense may result in two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
For a third DWI conviction, individuals also may receive a period of community supervision or probation for up to two years, along with at least 160 hours of community service. Probation also imposes various conditions and requirements, such as random drug and alcohol testing, attendance at substance abuse education courses, and periodic meetings with a probation officer. A third-offense DWI lawyer in Dallas can explain the full range of possibilities.
License Suspension and Third-Offense DWI
A third or subsequent DWI offense will also result in a license suspension, ranging from six months to two years, depending on the circumstances. This suspension does not begin until after individuals have served any period of incarceration. Along with the license suspension will be the installation of a mandatory ignition interlock device as a condition of bond and before individuals can receive any provisional or restricted driving privileges. This device requires drivers to blow into a tube before the vehicle starts. If the IID detects any amount of alcohol, then the vehicle is disabled.
Furthermore, if the third-offense falls within five years of the last DWI conviction, they may be subject to a mandatory ignition interlock device on all vehicles that they drive for at least one year following the expiration of their license suspension.
As a third-offense DWI in Dallas could explain, installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device can be costly. When added to the fees for license reinstatement and the currently required annual driver surcharges of up to $2,000 for three years, the costs of a third DWI conviction can be tremendous.
Dallas Third-Offense DWI Attorney
Life after a felony conviction can be substantially more difficult, even after you have served any term of incarceration, paid your fines, and completed probation. A felony DWI conviction can do permanent damage to your reputation. As a result, fighting back against your charges with the help of a Dallas third-offense DWI lawyer may be necessary to protect your future.
A felony that appears on criminal background checks can be a hindrance when you are searching for jobs, applying for credit, and trying to return to school. You may also lose the right to vote and to possess firearms. For help building a strong defense, call today and schedule a consultation.