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What are the Penalties for a Third DWI in Texas?


Are you facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas for the third time? If so, you probably have questions, such as, “What are the penalties? Will I lose my driver’s license? Will I be charged with a felony this time around?” In this article, we explain the penalties for a third DWI in Texas, so you can know what you’re up against.

What is the definition of intoxication in Texas? “Section 49.01(2)(a) of the Penal Code defines intoxication as ‘not having the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR (b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more,’” according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

For starters, the criminal offense of driving while intoxicated is covered under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. DWI is what’s called a “priorable offense,” which means that with each DWI conviction, the penalties enhance accordingly.

What Happens if You’re Found Guilty

As mentioned above, the punishment for DWI all depends on the number of DWI convictions the defendant has. If you’re convicted of a first or second DWI in Texas, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. With a second DWI for example, a defendant faces up to one year in jail because a second DWI is still a misdemeanor offense. However, a third DWI is prosecuted as a felony in the Lone Star State.

The penalties for a third DWI are as follows:

  • A maximum fine of $10,000
  • Between 2 and 10 years in prison
  • Driver’s license suspension for two years
  • An annual fee between $1,000 and $2,000 for three years to keep your driver’s license

“Will I have to install an ignition interlock device?” After you have two or more DWI convictions within a five-year time period, you will be required to install an IID, which is a special switch that stops your vehicle from starting if the device detects any alcohol in your breath. The IID has been proven to reduce drinking and driving by repeat offenders.

Next: Can I Get Fired for a DWI?

Facing third DWI charges? For a hard-hitting defense, contact The Alband Law Firm for a free consultation at (817) 997-4366.