4th DWI in Texas? Get Answers to the Most FAQs
A fourth DWI is considered a serious offense under Texas law. According to Texas Penal Code § 49.09, if you’re found guilty of a 4th DWI offense, you could be required to pay fines of up to $10,000 and you could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
If you’re facing your fourth DWI charge or have multiple DWI offenses, it’s crucial to get in touch with an experienced Texas DWI defense lawyer. Multiple DWI convictions can lead to serious felony charges and other consequences that can seriously alter the course of your life.
Don’t wait any longer – reach out to us now so we can assess your situation and begin crafting your defense plan today.
What Is the Average Sentence for 4th DWI in Texas?
The average sentence for a fourth DWI offense in Texas can depend on various factors, including the specific circumstances of the case and any changes in both state and local laws. Typically, fourth DWI sentences mean a longer license suspension, significant fines, and potential imprisonment ranging from 2 to 10 years in state prison.
Texas has strict penalties for multiple DWI offenses, including fines, license suspension, and potential jail time. For a fourth DWI offense, there is also the potential to be classified as a felony in Texas, which generally carries more severe penalties than misdemeanor DWI offenses.
The Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) states that DWI penalties depend on the number of offenses you have committed.
Fortunately for 4th time DWI defendants who enlist the help of a qualified criminal defense attorney, there is ample opportunity for a skilled litigator to achieve a favorable outcome. This is due to the fact that Texas DWI laws that outline possible prison time and fines for fourth-time DWI offenders also afford judges a lot of flexibility in terms of sentencing.
Can I Get Probation for a 4th DWI in Texas?
In Texas, if you get caught driving under the influence (DWI) for the fourth time, you’ll likely end up in state prison, and you won’t have a chance to get probation. You’ll probably also be required to go through a rehab program, like the Substance Abuse Felony Probation (SAFP).
The SAFP program offers 4,500 treatment beds mainly for probationers who have committed crimes related to substance abuse. It’s the biggest and costliest state-run substance abuse treatment program.
Following completion of your prison sentence, a probation period of up to 10 years can be applied. In addition, you may be required to use an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, or even take a prescription drug called “Antiabuse” which actually makes you very sick if you consume alcohol.
What Is the Penalty for a 4th DWI in Texas?
Here’s the bottom line, a four-time DWI offender faces serious penalties. In Texas, if you get caught driving while intoxicated for the fourth time (4th DWI), the law doesn’t tack on extra penalties as it does for a third DWI offense.
Instead, both a third and fourth DWI are treated as third-degree felony offenses. This means you could face serious consequences, such as up to 10 years in state prison, fines of $10,000 or even more, a two-year license suspension, and community service, among other penalties.
Fourth DWI Offense with One Prior TDCJ Incarceration:
If you’ve been charged with your fourth DWI and have been in TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) custody before, here’s what you could be looking at:
- It’s considered a second-degree felony.
- You might be fined up to $10,000.
- You could be sentenced to spend 2 to 10 years in TDCJ.
Fourth DWI Offense with Two Prior TDCJ Incarcerations:
Now, if this is your fourth or subsequent offense and you’ve been in TDCJ custody twice or more before, the penalties become even more severe:
- This is an enhanced felony charge.
- The fine can still go up to $10,000.
- You could be facing 25 years to life imprisonment in TDCJ.
Aside from the legal sentencing, a person can experience several other penalties for a fourth DWI, these can include:
- Having your driver’s license revoked for a maximum of two years.
- Random testing for drugs or alcohol.
- Payment of monthly probation fees.
- Community service, mandatory counseling or group therapy, and abstinence from drugs or alcohol.
- Completion of a court-ordered treatment program for drugs or alcohol.
- Repeat offenders might be required to complete a special DWI program.
- Payment for an ignition interlock device (IID) to be installed in your vehicle.
What Happens on Your 4th DWI in Texas?
In addition to a felony conviction, lengthy prison sentence, mandatory rehab, steep fines, license revocation, and all of the related consequences resulting from a fourth DWI charge, the negative ripple effects can seem never-ending.
Since fourth DWI convictions in Texas can be classified as a felony, convicted felons often face far more severe collateral consequences, such as:
- Finding it hard to get or keep a good job.
- Having their occupational licenses revoked.
- Damaging their professional image.
- Not being allowed to leave the country.
- Struggling to get into educational programs.
- Losing the ability to receive government help for education, like scholarships and grants.
- Facing difficulties with visiting or having custody of their children.
- Losing the right to government aid.
How Long Do You Go to Prison for a 4th DWI?
How long of a prison sentence you receive following a conviction of a fourth DWI offense in Texas depends on how many prior convictions you have. It can literally be anywhere from 2 years to life.
In Texas, if someone has been convicted of two felonies and then commits a third felony, they are labeled as a habitual offender. This label allows the court to impose extra charges and penalties when convicting them of a new crime.
The law in the state specifies different situations that can lead to harsher sentences. A repeat offender is someone who has committed a crime twice, while a habitual offender is someone who has committed a crime two or more times.
Following a third DWI conviction, penalties begin to stack up. A third-degree felony charge in Texas could lead to 2 to 10 years in prison. However, if you’ve already been to prison, the punishment can become even more severe, bumping up to a second-degree felony with a potential sentence of 2 to 20 years in state prison.
Notch that up to 25 years to life if you’ve been to prison twice in the mandated criminal enhancement sequence. If you have a prior conviction, it will count toward the total number of years you can be sentenced to serve.
Got a 4th DWI Charge in TX? Book a Free Consultation Now
If you have been charged with a fourth DWI charge in Tarrant County, Texas, you need an experienced team of aggressive DWI attorneys who are familiar with how these repeat offender cases are adjudicated.
Over 95% of all DWIs in the state of Texas are resolved through a plea deal. Our hard-hitting team of DWI lawyers near you has the expertise to carefully scrutinize the evidence, interpret the penal code, identify any flaws or illegal aspects in the case, and use the errors made by the police to assist you in achieving a positive outcome to your case.
We have handled thousands of DWI cases over the past 17 years both as prosecutors and defense attorneys. We attend the courts of North Texas every morning and have close relationships with the prosecutors and judges of Tarrant County, Texas.
If you choose to work with our law firm, you will have a lead DWI lawyer, but you will be working with a DWI defense team where each attorney can put their unique talents to work for your DWI defense.
About the Author:
After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – an experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.