Third DUI is a felony. In Texas, your first two DUI convictions are misdemeanors but your third DUI conviction is categorized as a third degree felony.
Lookback Period. Texas has a 10-year lookback period. So, in order for your current charge to be considered a third offense, your first offense must have occurred within ten years. If your first conviction occured within the past 10 years, you will be subject to the following administrative and criminal penalties.
If you had a BAC of .08 or higher, you will lose your driving privileges for a year (or more, see below), even if you have not been convicted of a DUI.
If you are convicted, the court can:
- suspend your driver's license for an additional two years
- fine you up to $10,000 (In addition to this, you will be required to pay the DUI surcharge at a rate of $1,500 per year for three years. If your BAC was above .16, this amount increases to $2,000.)
- require you to engage in community service for at least 80 hours (although a judge may order as many as 200 hours of service)
- subject you to jail time ranging from two to ten years. Probation is available in some cases, but the circumstances under which this will be granted vary from one court to another.
Being convicted of DUI three times in Texas is a strong indicator to the court that you may have a substance abuse problem. The court has the authority to order your confinement in a substance abuse facility for up to a year in lieu of incarceration.
It is often difficult to negotiate a plea bargain for a third offense. With the assistance of a skilled attorney, it may be possible to negotiate a lesser charge or fewer penalties, especially if your defense capitalizes on the possibility of a substance abuse problem.