Fourth DWI

The penalties for those accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI) are highly reliant on the alleged offender’s criminal history. Offenders with multiple DWI convcitions may face serious legal penalties under Texas law. Any person who has been charged with a fourth or subsequent DWI offense should seek legal representation immediately.

Those convicted for a fourth DWI should expect felony charges. In addition to facing statutory penalties, the alleged offender may have issues gaining employment, housing, or asking for governmental assistance. If you are being investigated for a fourth DWI, it’s imperative that you start your plan of defense now.

Brownsville Attorney for Fourth DWI in Texas

A fourth or subsequent DWI offense in Texas has serious penalties. Steep fines, prison time, license suspension, and annual surcharges are just the beginning of possible penalties. If you or someone you know has been charged with a fourth DWI in Texas, it’s critical that you act now.

Attorney Johnathan Gracia is passionate about criminal defense. He is dedicated to each and every one of his clients and will do whatever is possible to create a strong defense for you. Using his techniques, resources, and experience he can uncover all your available legal options for your case. Stay ahead of your charges with Johnathan Gracia at The Gracia Law Firm.

Johnathan Gracia practices law throughout the greater Brownsville area including Los Fresnos, Rio Hondo, Harlingen, and Port Isabel. 

Call us now at (956) 504-2211 and schedule your free consultation today. 

Overview for Fourth DWI Offense in Texas


Penalties for a Fourth or Subsequent DWI in Texas

If you have two prior DWI convictions, you will be charged with a felony. Texas Penal Code § 49.09 states that a person charged with a fourth DWI will face a third-degree felony. The penalties for a third-degree felony include the following: 

  • Up to 10 years in prison; and
  • A possible fine of up to $10,000. 

In addition to statutory penalties, a person with a fourth DWI may have to face additional consequences. The following are the potential penalties a person may face with a fourth DWI conviction.

  • Driver license’s suspension for up to two years;
  • Annual surcharge fee of up to $2,000 to retain driver’s license;
  • Required community service;
  • Required installation of an ignition interlock device (IID);
  • Participation in a drug and alcohol abuse evaluation;
  • If required, attend treatment for alcohol or drug dependency;
  • Completion of a DWI court-ordered program for repeat offenders;
  • Submit to random drug or alcohol testing;
  • Monthly probation fee if released; and
  • Completion of all probation requirements.

Collateral Consequences for a Fourth DWI in Texas

Any person convicted of a felony DWI in Texas may face additional collateral consequences. A person released from a felony offense or “felon” will likely face issues long after their prison sentence is served. Having a felony or multiple felony offenses on your record can affect your lifestyle in a number of ways including, but not limited to:

  • Issues gaining or retaining employment;
  • Difficulty pursuing educational programs such as college;
  • Inability to receive financial aid, scholarships, or grants;
  • Issues gaining governmental assistance;
  • Possible ineligibility to obtaining certain professional licenses;
  • Modified or reduced child custody or visitation agreements; and
  • Inability to travel to certain countries.

Texas Laws for Ignition Interlock Devices

In some cases, Texas law requires the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) as an additional penalty. If a person has two or more DWI offenses within five years of their most recent offense, he or she may have a judge may require an IID to be installed on the offender’s vehicle.  

An ignition interlock device is similar to a breathalyzer. It calculates a person’s breath-alcohol concentration (BAC) through a blowing mechanism. The purpose of an IID is to reduce the amount of DWIs created by repeat offenders. If the device calculates a BAC over .08 then the car’s engine will not start. 

The court requires the alleged offender to be responsible for the cost, which can be expensive. Additionally, the alleged offender cannot qualify for a hardship license until an ignition interlock device is installed.


Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter Charges in Texas

If an DWI accident occurs, the alleged offender may face intoxication assault charges. In the event that a serious bodily injury occurs from a DWI accident, the alleged offender may face intoxication assault charges in addition to DWI penalties. 

Texas law defines “serious bodily injury” as any type of injury that causes a substantial risk of death, serious disfigurement, or loss/impairment of a bodily member or organ. A person charged with an intoxication assault may face a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If a DWI accident caused death, then the penalties will be significantly enhanced. A person who causes the death of another because of their intoxicated driving will face intoxication manslaughter charges which is a second-degree felony. A conviction for intoxication manslaughter will result in up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition, if death or serious bodily injury occurs to any of the following persons the penalties will be enhanced. 

  • Judge;
  • Peace officer;
  • Emergency medical service personnel;
  • Firefighters, including those in organized volunteer units.

If serious bodily injury occurs to a firefighter or emergency medical service employee, then the crime will be elevated to a second-degree felony. Consequently, if serious bodily injury occurs to a judge or peace officer then the offense will be enhanced to a first-degree felony.

In cases where any of the persons mentioned above dies because of a DWI accident, the penalties will be enhanced to a first-degree felony. The penalties for a first-degree felony are a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 99 years or life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.  


Additional Resources 

Texas DWI Laws – Visit the official website for Texas state laws and legislation. Find more information surrounding DWI, intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, and the aggravating factors that can enhance your DWI’s penalties. 

MADD | Texas – Visit the official website for Mothers Against Drunk Driving or MADD. Find more information surrounding DWIs in Texas, learn DWI statistics and data, local MADD events, how to donate, and resources for victims.  


Lawyer for Fourth or Subsequent DWI in Cameron County, Texas

If you or someone you know has been charged with a fourth or subsequent DWI in the Cameron County area, it’s crucial that you gain trusted legal representation now. Hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of having your charges reduced or dropped.

Attorney Johnathan Gracia has defended numerous repeat DWI offenders in Texas criminal courts. He not only understands DWI laws, but also has the strategies to address them. Johnathan Gracia will implement all his resources to help you mount the best possible defense today. Start having some peace of mind now and schedule a consultation at (956) 504-2211. 

The Gracia Law Firm accepts clients throughout all parts of Cameron County and surrounding counties including Willacy County and Hidalgo County.

Call us now at (956) 504-2211 for a free consultation today.


This article was last updated on November 5, 2018.

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