Have you recently been arrested for your third (felony) DWI in Texas? Do breath test results show that you were intoxicated? Are you looking for the best Houston DWI attorney? You need to speak with an experienced and board-certified criminal DWI attorney immediately. Your third DWI will be very different from the others because you'll be facing felony criminal charges. Felonies are the most serious crimes in Texas and carry extremely harsh penalties. You will need an experienced Houston DWI attorney by your side.
Doug Murphy, one of only two attorneys in the state board certified in DWI Defense and Criminal Defense, has more than 19 years of experience handling felony DWI matters in Texas. He knows that the stakes are incredibly high and will fight to win your case. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule your free case evaluation.
Driving While Intoxicated in Texas
It is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Texas. Intoxication can mean one of two things:
- You have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit; or
- You lack the normal use of mental or physical faculties because you have consumed drugs or alcohol.
So, it is possible to be arrested for DWI even if you only had a drink or two. If police believe that you aren't fit to drive, they have the authority to place you under arrest.
Third DWI in Texas
First and second DWI offenses are misdemeanors in Texas. Whenever you commit a crime multiple times, the penalties become much harsher. This is also true for driving while intoxicated. A third DWI offense is a third-degree felony in Texas. If you are convicted you will be subject to harsh administrative, criminal, and collateral consequences.
The administrative penalties for DWI become increasingly severe with each additional offense.
License Suspension: Your driver's license will be confiscated when you are placed under arrest for your third DWI. The officer will give you a temporary permit when you are released from custody. You will have to request a special administrative hearing if you want to try to keep your license. Since this is your third DWI within a ten-year timeframe, the state can suspend your license for up to two years.
License Surcharge: Once you get your license back you will be subject to a licensing fee surcharge. The state can require you to pay $2,000 each year for the first three years you have your license.
Ignition Interlock Device: Since this is your third DWI, the state will probably also require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. This will prevent you from driving if there is any trace of alcohol on your breath. The fees and costs associated with the device can be excessive.
A third DWI is a third-degree felony in Texas. Felonies carry penalties that are much more severe. Since this is your third offense, the state may not think that you are a good candidate for probation or rehabilitative sentences. As a result, you may be facing some serious time in a state prison after a third DWI.
Prison: Third DWIs are punishable by two to ten years in prison. You will be required to spend at least ten days in jail regardless of any plea bargain you're able to arrange in lieu of fighting the charging at trial.
Fines: The state can require you to pay a fine of up to $10,000. This amount will not include court costs, counseling fees, and related assessments. Those additional costs can make the financial repercussions of your accident even greater.
Probation: Probation is a form of supervised release that is often used in conjunction with other penalties. While on probation, you will be required to satisfy all terms. This can include completing up to 600 hours of community service, mandatory drug and alcohol counseling, and DWI intervention programs.
Having a criminal record can make life difficult. However, there's a big difference between having a misdemeanor and a felony on your criminal record. Having a felony on your record will make you vulnerable to new social and civil penalties. These penalties are known as collateral consequences. They are not necessarily related to your specific crime. Instead, they can simply exist because you have been convicted of a felony.
Collateral consequences of your third DWI can include:
- Losing the right to own a gun forever
- Losing the right to vote
- Difficulty finding a job
- Prevented from working in certain fields, like education or healthcare
- Difficulty finding a home or apartment, and
- Prevent from collecting for certain government benefits.
You can avoid these (and other) penalties by defending yourself against felony DWI charges. Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm for help protecting your future.
The consequences of your third DWI can be much more severe if you are involved in an accident. You can face additional criminal charges and penalties if property is damaged or if someone is injured or killed.
- Reckless Damage: DWI causing property damage; Class C Misdemeanor
- Criminal Mischief: DWI causing property damage; Misdemeanor or Felony
- Intoxication Assault: DWI causing serious bodily harm; Third-degree Felony
- Intoxication Manslaughter: DWI causing death; Second-degree Felony
Breath Tests and Your DWI Arrest
There are two ways to determine if you are intoxicated: breath tests and blood tests. If police believe that you are intoxicated they will ask for you to provide a sample of your breath or blood for testing. Breath tests are easier to administer, but often much less accurate. Attacking the validity of your breath test results will be a primary tactic for your defense.
How Do Breath Tests Work?
In Houston, the Intoxilyzer 9000 is the breathalyzer of choice. This is a very delicate machine that is used to determine how much alcohol is in your system. In order to perform the test, police will ask you to breathe into the device. It will analyze the sample and determine how much alcohol is present in your breath. This is not your blood alcohol concentration. The result must be converted using a complex calculation. This final result, which reflects the amount of alcohol in your blood, is your BAC.
Breath Test Results Are Unreliable
Breath tests are inherently unreliable. In fact, the results of breathalyzer tests are often inaccurate. Many factors, ranging from improper training to poor sample quality, can throw off the result.
Factors that make breath tests unreliable include:
- Improper storage and maintenance of the device itself
- Inadequate police training
- Test administered improperly
- Test administered using shallow breath, rather than deep lung breath
- Traces of alcohol in the mouth, and
- Prescription medication in your system.
Attacking Breath Test Results
It will be important to identify every possible factor that could have influenced your breath test result. The more areas that can be attacked, the less reliable the test results become. The state's case against you will be weakened if it cannot rely on breath test evidence. This may force the state to change gears. They may offer a plea or be forced to drop the charges altogether.
Defending Third DWI Charges in Texas
It is important to stay calm after you are arrested for your third DWI. Remember, the state has to prove that you are guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Doug Murphy will structure a defense that makes it very difficult for the state to prove its case against you.
Defenses that can help you defeat felony DWI charges include:
- Police lacked cause to stop your vehicle
- You were not intoxicated
- You were not operating the vehicle
- You have been falsely accused
- Police lacked probable cause to arrest you
- Field sobriety tests were not administered correctly
- The results of your breath tests are inaccurate and unreliable, and
- The state has violated your Constitutional rights.
You need an attorney who knows how to defend felony DWI charges. Doug Murphy has nearly two decades of experience under his belt. His unique insight into Texas DWI law and procedure can help you win your case. Call today to learn more.
Houston Felony DWI Attorney
When you are arrested for your third DWI you will face felony charges. If you are convicted you will spend time in jail. You'll also lose your license and be subject to incredibly harsh fines and penalties. You have the right to defend yourself against any DWI charges. Houston DWI attorney Doug Murphy can help.
Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to schedule your free case evaluation. We will review the details of your arrest and determine the best approach to your case. We will fight to protect your future. The sooner you call, the sooner we can begin working on your defense.