Guide to Third DUI Offense Penalties
Being convicted of DUI three times is extremely serious. The penalties for a third DUI offense are quite severe—significantly moreso than for a first or second offense. This guide will help you to understand the full range of consequences that you may face after being convicted three times for DUI. You will learn about the fines and jail time you can expect as a third-time DUI offender, as well as consequences to your driver's license and your vehicle itself. Because penalties vary widely by state and are becoming more severe with each passing year, you may want to talk to a DUI lawyer near you who can give you the most up-to-date information on penalties for a third DUI offense in your state.
One of the mandatory penalties of a third DUI offense in every state is a license suspension or revocation. While this is always of limited duration for first-time and second-time offenders, in at least two states—Connecticut and Vermont—you will lose your license permanently if you are convicted of a third DUI offense.
You are also less likely to be permitted to drive to work or school if you have been convicted of DUI three different times. If you are allowed to drive during limited hours or for limited purposes during the term of your license suspension, you may be forced to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle that will perform a “breathalyzer” test and not allow the vehicle to start if you have been drinking. You may also be issued with a penalty license plate that indicates your DUI conviction. You will be required to display this plate for the duration of your limited driving privileges.
Fines and Prison/Jail Time
A third DUI offense has much more serious and long-lasting consequences than a first or second offense. Twenty-five states have made it a felony to be convicted of DUI three times, and if you are convicted of a felony, you will serve at least a year in prison and have large fines levied against you. The states that have not made a third DUI offense a felony still consider it a serious misdemeanor, and you may face months in county jail and thousands of dollars in fines even in a lenient state.
In addition to going to prison—possibly for a long time—being convicted of a felony has major lifelong consequences. You may be barred from voting, from owning a gun, or from holding many types of jobs once you have been convicted of a third DUI offense in a state that makes this a felony. You can be forced to disclose a felony conviction when searching for apartments or jobs for the rest of your life.
In addition to prison time and fines, if you have habitually used your vehicle to re-offend, your car can be confiscated for a third DUI offense in 25 states. You will lose any legal right you have to your vehicle, and it will be taken by the government to keep or auction off as it sees fit. This confiscation is permanent.