Have you been arrested for your third DWI in Houston? Do you have at least two prior DWI convictions? If so, you'll face charges for a Third Degree Felony. Penalties for your third DWI include 2-10 years in prison, fines of $10,000, and an extended period of supervised release. You'll also lose your driver's license for up to two years and be required to install an ignition interlock device.
The specific charges and penalties you'll face will depend on the strength of the state's evidence and any aggravating factors in your case.
Third DWI With Blood Test
Police can make a DWI arrest if there is some evidence to show that you were intoxicated. In many cases, the police will rely on chemical tests to gather proof of intoxication. Blood tests can offer accurate insight into a driver's level of intoxication. They are typically used when breath tests would be unreliable or if officers believe you have drugs other than alcohol in your system.
Can I Refuse a Blood Test?
Thanks to a Texas court, you can refuse a blood test. However, it's important to understand two things. First, refusing a blood test can come back to haunt you. If you're arrested for DWI anyway, your license can automatically be subject to suspension. You'll have to request a special hearing within 15 days if you want to fight to keep your driving privileges. Second, police can ask for a warrant to get a blood sample if they truly believe that you are intoxicated. A warrant can be issued as long as there is probable cause to support the request.
How Can I Fight a Blood Test?
If you have been arrested for a third DWI with a blood test, it's important to speak with a skilled attorney immediately. Since blood tests are generally considered to be reliable, these cases are generally more complicated to win without the help of a skilled and seasoned lawyer. You'll need the help of a lawyer who has prior experience and success in handling these complex matters.
Doug Murphy knows that the best way to handle cases involving blood tests is by attacking the validity of the test results. Blood tests may be unreliable because:
- Machinery wasn't properly cleaned or calibrated.
- Blood was not drawn from a proper source.
- The chain of custody was broken.
- The state failed to preserve a sample of the blood for future testing.
If the state can't rely on blood test evidence, it may be forced to reconsider the DWI charge against you.
Third DWI With Breath Test
Breath tests allow police to identify the concentration of alcohol in your blood by analyzing a sample of your breath. Since breath tests don't analyze your blood directly, results tend to be less accurate. When you are arrested for your third DWI with a breath test, it is important to enlist the help of an attorney who knows how to undermine the state's case against you. When the state has breath test evidence, your attorney should search for any potential issue that could have influenced test results. This can include:
- Police deviation from testing standards
- Food and/or drink you consumed shortly before testing
- Health issues and/or prescription medications
- Your age, weight, and gender, and
- Failure to properly calibrate and maintain testing equipment.
Breath tests results can be vulnerable to attacks. Hire an attorney who can assess your case and determine all possible issues that could have affected your breath test results.
Do I Have to Take a Breathalyzer?
In most situations, the answer is no. However, there are certain “no refusal” weekends when -- if you refuse -- obtaining warrants to collect a blood sample is relatively easy. Refusal can also have administrative consequences. If you are arrested for your third DWI with a breath test the state can suspend your license.
Third DWI With an Accident
If you have at least two prior DWI convictions, your third offense will be a felony. However, it is possible to face aggravated charges and penalties if your third DWI involves an accident. The specific charges you'll face will depend on whether you caused property damage, injury, or death.
DWI Causing Property Damage
If you are arrested for DWI involving an accident you may be charged with reckless damage or criminal mischief. Reckless damage is a Class C Misdemeanor. This may be charged in addition to your Third Degree Felony DWI charges. Criminal mischief can be a misdemeanor or a felony. The level of the charge typically depends on the extent of the damage you cause. As a result, you can be charged with more than one felony if your third DWI causes significant property damage. You will also be required to pay for the damage.
DWI Causing Serious Injury
Accidents causing serious bodily injury will not be handled lightly. Serious bodily injury occurs when a victim suffers a substantial risk of death or experiences disfigurement, loss, or impairment to the body. When your third DWI involves an accident causing serious bodily injury you can be charged with intoxication assault. Intoxication assault is also a third-degree felony, punishable by 2-10 years in prison. You may also be required to pay restitution to the victim(s).
DWI Causing Death
Did your third DWI involve a fatal accident? The death can be instant or occur hours, days, or weeks later. If so, you may also face criminal charges for intoxication manslaughter. This a second-degree felony in Texas, punishable by 2-20 years in prison.
Contact an Aggressive, Smart Board Certified DWI Attorney in Houston Today
Have you been arrested for your third DWI in Houston? If you have two prior DWI convictions you'll be charged with a third-degree felony. The consequences of a felony conviction can stay with you for life, even after you have completed your criminal sentence. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. for immediate assistance. Our Houston DWI defense lawyers are prepared to help you fight to protect your future. Call today to learn more.