Penalties for a Third Arrest While Driving Under The Influence in Texas

Having a third DWI on your record in the state of Texas is a serious offense and, even with unique circumstances, will require that you retain legal aid. We will talk about some of the considerations that will come into play when dealing with a third time being arrested for driving while under the influence in Texas.

Table of Contents

First, let’s talk about the official resources for Texas DWI law, however difficult to read they may be. The official section of the Texas Penal Code that deals with Driving while Under the Influence is found in Title 10, Chapter 49 titled: INTOXICATION AND ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE OFFENSES.

In regard to multiple offenses (which we’ll explain in a moment), the particular section of Chapter 49 that deals with what are called ‘Enhanced Offenses and Penalties’, can be found in section 49.09, subsection (h).

What is the penalty for a third DWI in Texas?

Ok, so while Texas doesn’t explicitly define special penalties if it is exactly your third dwi, they do outline the penalties for someone who has committed the offense more than once. Furthermore, and unfortunately, the fact that it is your third DWI (and not your second) is going to be a factor when the judge determines your sentence.

Having said that, much of what applies to a second DWI in Texas, also applies here. If you are found to have committed your third DWI in Texas, it will be a Class A misdemeanor that comes with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days and a fine of up to $4,000. If the State is able to prove that you have indeed been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

What Makes a Third DWI Arrest Worse?

Perhaps the most important qualifier we can give here is noting that this assumes that it was a standard DWI arrest where you drank more than the legal limit allowed to operate a vehicle. If you committed any of the below offenses, you can expect a much more severe penalty.

  • It will be a felony if you got in an accident and that accident caused serious bodily injury to a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.
  • It is a first degree felony if the state is able to prove that the accused caused serious injury to a cop who was on duty at the time.
  • It is much worse if a 3rd DWI offense if you “caused the death of another”–which would now make the offense a first degree felony.
  • Finally, it will be a felony of the second degree if you injured someone and that injury resulted in a persistent vegetative state of someone else.

Interlock Device Requirement

Finally, even if you are able to avoid any of these enhanced penalties, you will be forced to install an interlock device (which we detail in our DWI in Texas page) that prevents the operating of a vehicle unless that vehicle has such a device attached.

The good news that we will leave you with is that it is statistically rare for someone to get the minimum sentence defined by state law so long as they are honest and forthcoming with the judge. A good attorney familiar with Texas DWI law should be able to secure you that outcome but the details of every case are unique.