Each time someone reoffends with another DWI charge, prosecutors fear it is only a matter of time before that person hurts or kills someone. As a result, prosecutors will often go all out in the prosecution of such cases, seeking convictions and harsh penalties. If you are facing a third DWI charge, you need an experienced DWI attorney. Contact a Plano third-offense DWI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest.
Unlike a first or second DWI, a third offense DWI is not a misdemeanor; it is a felony offense. A convicted defendant faces two to ten years in the State Penitentiary and up to a $10,000 fine.
Prosecutors tend to argue that a third DWI offense is indicative of a serious substance abuse problem. While some prosecutors may offer a sentencing package that emphasizes recovery and rehabilitation, many others will seek an extended period of incarceration for the defendant.
When someone is indicted and decides to fight the DWI by having a trial, the prosecutors are allowed to tell the jury about the defendant’s prior DWI offenses before any evidence is actually put on. This does not change the burden of proof, but it certainly gives the prosecution the upper hand. Once a jury knows a person has at least two prior convictions, it will not take as much evidence to convince a jury that a defendant is guilty of a third offense.
For a third-offense DWI, a defendant faces anywhere between two to ten years in the state penitentiary, although that time can be probated. There is a minimum ten days in jail as a condition of probation, and the law allows for up to 180 days in jail, conditional to a judge’s ruling. As with a second DWI, there is also a mandatory driver’s license suspension for two years upon a conviction. This suspension cannot be appealed.
Once arrested for a third DWI, an Ignition Interlock will be required as a condition of bond and will continue to be a condition of any probation. Once ordered as a condition of probation, the law permits a Judge to remove the Interlock after half of the probation time has been served.
Not only will a person have an Interlock in their car, but Judges can also order a person to wear a SCRAM ankle monitor. This device is not removable and will detect any alcohol consumption, even the use of mouthwash. It is very intrusive, visible, and uncomfortable.
If probation is being offered, a person will have to undergo an extensive drug and alcohol evaluation. This evaluation can recommend anything from simple AA classes, to Intensive Outpatient treatment, to In-house treatment, to treatment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (the penitentiary).
If you are facing charges for a third DWI, you need professional legal representation. A Plano third-offense DWI lawyer could investigate the circumstances of your arrest, negotiate with prosecutors, and seek the best possible conditions for your future. Reach out to a lawyer today.