Facing charges for driving while intoxicated (DWI, also referred to as “DUI”) can be an excruciating experience. It can be even more excruciating if you have been previously been convicted of driving while intoxicated and are fearful that this time the penalties will be even more severe than the last time.
Drunk driving laws in Texas aim to deter individuals from becoming repeat offenders by increasing the penalties with each subsequent conviction. In order to prevent yourself from being buried under the repercussions of a third or subsequent conviction, it is imperative that you consult with a qualified criminal defense lawyer.
Receiving a Charge for a Repeat DUI Offense in San Antonio
In Texas, a person can be charged with DWI if he or she operates a vehicle in a public place, while intoxicated. According to Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 49.01, a driver is considered intoxicated if his or her blood alcohol content is .08 or higher, or if his or her normal mental or physical faculties are impaired due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol.
In order to be charged with a 3rd offense, an individual must have been previously convicted of any two DWI-related offenses. These offenses are listed under Tex. Pen. Code Ann. § 49.09 as driving while intoxicated, intoxication manslaughter, DWI with a child passenger, boating while intoxicated, intoxication assault, or operating an amusement ride while intoxicated.
What is Actual Physical Control of a Vehicle?
In some cases, individuals can be arrested for drunk or drugged driving even if they weren’t actually driving at the time the arresting officer encountered them. Under Texas law, the prosecution must only prove that the defendant was in actual physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated. Actual physical control is characterized by being in, on, or near the vehicle, while having the realistic capabilities of operating it.
Common factors that officers use to determine actual physical control include whether or not the keys were in the ignition, where the individual was sitting, whether or not the vehicle was recently driven, and whether or not the keys to the vehicle were in the defendant’s immediate vicinity.
Penalties For a Third DWI Conviction in San Antonio
If an individual is charged with a driving under the influence for the third time, he or she will be charged with a third-degree felony. A felony of this classification carries a potential prison sentence of between two to 10 years, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Additional penalties could include, but are not limited to:
- Community service
- Mandatory Jail time if probation is granted
- DWI school
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Mandatory attendance in drug or alcohol education courses
Aside from the penalties mentioned above, if an individual is convicted of a third DUI within five years of a previous driving while intoxicated offense, he or she will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed into his or her vehicle, for a specified amount of time, and at their own expense.
Protecting Your Record From Repeat DUI Offenses in Texas
If you have been arrested in San Antonio, Boerne, Comfort, Bandera, Kendall or Bexar County, or any of the surrounding cities or counties in Texas, the Parent Law Firm will proudly represent you.
Dave Parent is a tactical defense lawyer and courtroom veteran who will work hard to ensure that your rights are upheld and your best interests are always at the forefront of your defense strategy. Contact Dave Parent today to discuss the circumstances that lead to your third or subsequent DWI charges. Call 210-819-4111 so that Dave Parent can begin developing your defense strategy as soon as possible.