If you’re hit with a 3rd DWI in Texas, don’t panic. Even though a 3rd DWI in Texas is more serious than a 1st and 2nd DWI, you still have options.

Here’s the quick and dirty of what you can expect with a 3rd DWI in Texas: more fines, more jail time, more admin penalties, and more consequences. But with the right DWI lawyer in your corner, you can minimize these penalties and make it through this life obstacle with as little fallout as possible.

Let’s take a quick look at the typical fines, penalties, and life consequences associated with a 3rd DWI in Texas.

Not facing your 3rd DWI in Texas? Check out these articles instead:

What happens when you get a 3rd DWI in Texas?

A 3rd DWI is considered a 3rd-degree felony DWI in Texas. And it doesn’t make a difference how long ago your first and second DWI was received. In Texas, a 3rd DWI is always a 3rd DWI — even if that 2nd DWI was 10, 15, or even 25 years ago.

Another thing to keep in mind with a 3rd DWI is how your case will be handled in court. Prior DWI charges might be considered a stupid mistake. But a third DWI is considered a recurring issue, and you will likely be treated as if you have a substance abuse problem.

As with all DWIs, however, you can expect the penalties and fines to be based on individual circumstances. What was your blood alcohol concentration level? Did you injure anyone or damage any property? Were there children in the car? Depending on your answers to questions like these, you could end up with more or less severe penalties.

3rd DWI Penalties and Fines

Prison Time

With a 3rd DWI under your belt, you could be facing anywhere between 2 to 10 years of prison time. Proper defense could help you reduce time spent in prison or see this term spent in other ways (community service, counseling, or work programs).


Initial fines associated with a 3rd DWI in Texas can reach up to $10,000. This does not include additional costs you can rack up in administrative fees and fines.

License Suspension & Administrative Fines

On top of initial fines and jail time, your license will almost certainly be suspended for a time period of two years. White the 3 year DPS surcharge is no more as of September 1st, 2019, you may still be required to pay mandated civil fees that range from $3000 to $6000 depending on if the charge occurred within 36 months of the original charge and if the blood alcohol level is over 0.15.

This will not just wreak havoc on your wallet, but on your day-to-day life, too.

Miscellaneous Penalties

Jail time, fines, and license suspension are just the beginning of Texas DWI penalties. There are a slew of additional secondary penalties that can have a negative and lasting impact on your life. Here are just a few of the obstacles you might need to prep for:

  • Ignition interlock device (IID): In many circumstances, the court requires those with prior DWI charges to have an ignition interlock device installed inside their vehicle. These devices are basically in-car breathalyzers that require you to blow into a mouthpiece before operating your vehicle.
  • DWI programs and classes: Mandatory DWI programs and classes are also common requirements after a 3rd DWI conviction. It is required that you attend and/or pass the classes, courses, or programs before you can get your license back. If you fail to do so, you could be subject to additional fines and/or jail time.
  • Community service: You may also be required to complete anywhere between 100-600 hours of community service. This could be on top of the regular fines and jail time or in lieu of the regular fines and jail time. This all depends on your individual circumstances and the experience of your defense team.
  • A reduction in life opportunities: From housing to employment, a 3rd DWI in Texas can negatively impact it all. After receiving a 3rd DWI, it could be more difficult to find a job or to keep your current one; you could lose the potential for any government benefits or assistance, and you could temporarily lose your right to own firearms and even vote. This is why it’s incredibly important to educate yourself and to invest in the best possible DWI defenses.

Need help fighting a DWI charge in Houston?

Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm is Triple Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, DWI Defense Law by the National College for DWI Defense, and DWI Law by the DWI Defense Lawyers Association in Houston. With over 100 not guilty verdicts and thousands of dismissals, we can help you or a loved one overcome a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd DWI in Texas.

Don’t let this obstacle negatively impact your life anymore than it already has. Contact Thiessen Law Firm and let’s get started on your case today.

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Mark Thiessen

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.