What Happens When You Get Your Third DWI in Texas?
Driving while impaired (DWI) charges are significant crimes that are treated harshly and seriously by Texas courts. Repeat offenses are even worse and result in even harsher punishments. If you get a third DWI in Texas, penalties can range from prison time and loss of license to high fines and fees. Additionally, a third DWI, just by virtue of showing a pattern of drinking and driving (or using drugs and driving), puts you at a higher risk of harming or killing someone else. Not only is that a significant weight on your conscience, but the injured person or their family members may pursue monetary compensation from you for the harm you caused.
In fact, a Dallas crash law firm like Pintas & Mullins can help injured people get the highest possible compensation from a driver who is guilty of DWI at the time of a wreck. Our attorneys have worked on many similar cases, we understand the local court system, and we will diligently and ruthlessly pursue justice on behalf of our clients.
The Legal Consequences of a Third DWI
As with all crimes, repeated DWI offenses are seen as evidence that the offender has not “learned their lesson” and therefore requires heavier punishment. That is why penalties for these offenses are so intense and can have life-changing effects. Below are just a few consequences you may face if you are charged with a third DWI, as listed by the Texas Department of Transportation.
Loss of License
After a third DWI, you can lose your license for up to two years. This can be a significant penalty even if you avoid steeper ones, as it can affect your ability to travel to and from work, school, or other important locations.
Even when you do get your license back after a third DWI, you can be forced to install an ignition interlock device on your car for a period of time ordered by the court. This device requires you to breathe into it, and have no alcohol on your breath, in order to start the vehicle.
A third DWI comes with a $10,000 fine, up from the first DWI penalty of up to $2,000. Most of us do not have an extra ten grand sitting around, and having to pay that kind of fine can seriously cripple our finances.
But that steep fine is not the only monetary loss you can face if you are charged with your third DWI. To keep your license, you may be required to pay annual fees for three years. These can be fees of $1,000, $1,500, or $2,000.
Unlike a first or second DWI, a third DWI is not punished with time in a state jail. Instead, you between two and 10 years in the much harsher world of prison.
Permanent Criminal Record
Of course, having any conviction on your record is not desirable. A third DWI is particularly difficult to cope with, often acting like the proverbial scarlet letter and preventing you from taking advantage of employment or living opportunities.
Civil Consequences I May Face
Not only do you face a criminal penalty for a third DWI, but you can face a civil lawsuit from anyone injured in a wreck with you. It is difficult to defend against such a lawsuit when it is your third DWI, as your record tells the court that you have a propensity to drive while impaired. After losing a civil lawsuit, you can expect to pay for various damages your actions caused.
The usual damages involved in a personal injury lawsuit come in two categories called “economic” and “non-economic.” They include all the harms your actions caused, such as lost wages, medical bills, property repair expenses, car rentals, physical pain, loss of companionship with a spouse, loss of enjoyment in life, and much more. The value of these damages can be extremely high in some cases.
In a third DWI case, the probability of exemplary damages being ordered greatly increases. This is because these extra damages are designed to punish offenders whose actions are considered especially egregious, and third DWIs certainly fit that description. The judge or jury has considerable discretion when awarding this additional payment from you to the injured party. They can award up to the higher of the following two amounts.
- Twice the person’s economic harms, plus up to $750,000 of their non-economic harms.
Pintas & Mullins Works Hard for Injured Clients
As a dedicated DWI accident law firm in Dallas, Pintas & Mullins will pursue all available avenues of compensation for our injured clients. If you are the victim of a driver who was operating their vehicle while impaired, we offer a FREE consultation to discuss the merits and value of your claim. If you decide to hire us as your attorneys, you do not have to worry about the financial strain. We do not collect a fee unless and until we win you the compensation that justice demands.
Schedule an appointment with our skilled DWI car accident attorneys today by entering your information into the form on our contact page or by calling our offices at 214-305-8277.