They say Texas has a different brand of justice, and maybe it is true. A Parker County man recently received a life sentence in prison after being charged and convicted of his seventh DWI. After seven convictions and 10 arrests for DWI, the judge was not in the mood to dispense mercy, it seems, and even said that he needed to protect the public from someone who has had so many DWI convictions.
While it is rare to receive a life sentence for DWI in Texas, it does happen. It is not rare, however, to receive long, lengthy, and harsh punishments for DWI. Once a person has a DWI conviction on his or her record, each subsequent arrest and conviction raises the possibility of a lengthy prison sentence. The current jail sentence breakdown by times convicted of DWI is as follows:
- First offense results in a fine of up to $2,000 and three to 180 days in jail;
- Second offense results in a fine of up to $4,000 and one month to a year in jail;
- Third offense results in a $10,000 fine and two to ten years in jail;
- Fourth offense and beyond is dealt with by the habitual offenders laws in Texas.
As you can see, each DWI makes a big difference in the available punishment by the state. That is why fighting DWI charges is so important.
Habitual Offender Laws
Texas justice is often severe, and each subsequent offense increases what penalties are available to a judge to hand down. Under the habitual offender laws of Texas, when a person has two prior felonies and served time for them, then the court is required to issue a sentence of at least 25 years, and often it will be much more than that.
The lesson here is that anybody accused of a felony DWI or other crime must do all he or she can to have the charges reduced or dismissed. Once a person already has a felony record, there is no wiggle room to get out of tight legal situation. Choosing the right legal team to prepare and defend a case will be the most important decision made by anyone facing multiple felonies.
Looking Beyond Prison
This man mentioned above was sentenced to life in prison, and while most DWI convicts will not face this sentence, there are others ways that a DWI conviction will affect you for life. Think of every job, apartment, or other application you fill out going forward. When asked if you have ever been convicted of crime, you will have to report yes. This will cause the people evaluating you to make a snap judgment about you and often limit your opportunities.
Hopefully anyone accused of DWI realizes the seriousness of the nature of the situation. A DWI defense should not be put in the hands of just any lawyer because defending a DWI requires experience, skill, and ability. Who you choose to defend your DWI will be the most important decision of the entire case. As you are considering this, think of us at The Wilder DWI Defense Firm. Our name says it all. Contact us today.
(image courtesy of Cameron Kirby)