DUI. It stands for driving under the influence, and it can heavily impact your life and those around you if you drive in that state.
In 2019, there were almost 25,000 car crashes in Texas that were related to DUIs.
One DUI can be enough to financially and mentally affect your life, but if you happen to do this three times, then you could really be talking about your entire life-changing.
If you are from the Austin area, you would need to find a DUI attorney in Austin to help minimize that impact.
But, what can a DWI Austin attorney do for you? What exactly would you be facing on a third DUI? This is your guide to get through being charged with a third DUI in Austin.
Third DUI Penalties in Texas
In the state of Texas, committing a third DUI is considered a third-degree felony, and the consequences of that increase significantly because you are a repeat offender.
Let’s start with putting your freedom at stake. For a third DUI, you are looking at being put in prison for at least two years and can face up to 10 years in prison. For a first offense, the minimum sentence is just three days in comparison.
Then, you are going to get hit with a fine of up to $10,000. That is typically the average total cost of your first DUI but in this situation, that would just be the cost of the fine for violating that law a third time. In Texas, the maximum fine for a first DUI is $2,000.
Of course, you would be looking at losing your license for a long period of time, facing a loss of license for up to two years here. For your first DUI offense in Texas, the maximum amount of time you could lose it is one year.
On top of losing your license, if you want to get it back after a third DUI, you are going to have to pay annual surcharges. Texas typically has this cost at around $1,500 annually for three years.
In other words, you are facing several different penalties here and each individual one takes a large step up in severity when it comes to repeat offenses vs. first offenses. Without a competent lawyer behind you, you could be looking at facing the maximum charges with these.
Not all DUIs are created equal, which means that some are more serious and do more damage than others. If you happen to do one of the following while you are on your third DUI offense, you could be looking at a heavier sentence than talked about above.
The first scenario would be if you were driving with a child that is 15 years old or younger in the car. You could be charged with child endangerment and your sentence for violating multiple laws here would be increased.
That could add another two years to your jail sentence, add another $10,000 to your fine, and you could lose your driver’s license for an extra six months. Texas takes child endangerment especially related to a DUI very seriously, so you want to think twice before driving with a child in the car.
Then, even more serious DUIs could result in someone getting killed in a car accident. For that, you could get charged with intoxication manslaughter.
In the state of Texas, intoxication manslaughter adds at least two years to a jail sentence but you could face up to 20 years in prison. You are also looking at a fine of an additional $10,000 here.
If you have extra factors like this in your specific DUI case, you could be in a lot more trouble than you already would be with a normal third offense.
Why Hire a DUI Attorney?
Obviously, the charges you face in this scenario are severe enough that they may permanently ruin your life, especially if you have one of those other factors above added on to your third DUI offense charge.
You may risk losing things like your personal freedom, financial security, being able to rent an apartment, the right to vote, being able to leave the country, the right to own firearms, more difficulty finding work, and more.
An experienced attorney in Austin can help you potentially negotiate these charges down or get them dropped altogether if they can prove that you were either not drunk or there was an illegal procedure by the police. Attorneys also know DUI laws inside and out and know how the court in their local area works very well.
That attorney might know how to appeal to a judge, negotiate with a prosecutor, and what to do with your type of case. But, most importantly, that attorney can provide a confident and robust presence with legal counsel for you since they have been around the block.
If you decide to go at a situation like this alone, not only are you more likely to lose, but you may risk getting a harsher sentence towards the maximum penalty allowed by law. Plus, you will not be taken nearly as seriously in a court of law.
Hire a DUI Attorney in Austin
These are the main penalties you face for a third DUI. Because these penalties are so severe, it is essential that you have a professional DUI attorney in Austin by your side if that happens in the area.
Do you need representation? Contact James Fletcher attorney today to get started.