What can you expect if you’re convicted of driving while impaired 10 times in Texas? Based on a local man’s case, you could receive a very long prison sentence.
Ivy Ray Eberhardt, 62, of Weatherford, recently was convicted of DWI for the 10th time following a guilty plea. He received a sentence of life in prison and may be eligible for parole after 15 years.
Craig Towson, the District Court judge who handed down the sentencing, said that with a blood-alcohol level over 0.30, Eberhardt was “a second away” from seriously injuring someone. He noted that an individual who has 12 DWI arrests and 10 convictions, like Eberhardt, must be kept from driving — in this case, through incarceration — for the protection of the public.
Swerving and in the Wrong Lane
In 2014, police received a call that an individual was driving recklessly on U.S. 180. Officers pulled Eberhardt over after observing his vehicle swerving and in the wrong lane. After being pulled over, Eberhardt told officers he’d consumed almost all of a 750-ml bottle of whiskey that officers found in the car.
Authorities said the case was delayed because Eberhardt had removed his electronic monitoring device and fled to Colorado, where he was arrested again for DWI. Eberhardt had to finish serving a sentence there before the Texas case could commence.
According to court records, Eberhardt was convicted four times of DWI in the 1980s and 1990s in Tarrant and Travis counties, and he served time in prison for DWIs in Runnels, Tarrant and Parker counties. In addition, he was convicted in 2010 and 2015 on DWI charges in Colorado.
Eberhardt will be eligible for parole after he serves 15 years, and he may receive credit toward time served for good conduct.
DWI Penalties in Texas
Eberhardt’s case is extreme, but penalties in Texas are serious even for a first DWI offense. If you’re convicted on a first-time DWI charge, you could receive a fine up to $2,000 along with three to 180 days in jail and the loss of your driver’s license for as long as a year. In addition, you may be required to pay a yearly fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to keep your driver’s license after the initial suspension.
For a second conviction, you could be fined up to $4,000 and expect to spend between a month and a year in jail. In addition, your license could be suspended for up to two years and you could be required to pay annual fees up to $2,000 yearly for three years to retain your driving privileges.
A third conviction can result in a $10,000 fine, two to 10 years in prison and loss of your license for up to two years, along with the fee up to $2,000 annually over three years. Anyone convicted of DWI two or more times within five years is required to install a vehicle ignition switch that stops a vehicle from operating if the driver has been drinking.
What if You’re Stopped for DWI?
If an officer pulls you over on suspicion of DWI, it’s important to stay calm and remember that an arrest is not a conviction. Be prepared to show the officer your driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. To consult with an attorney about your rights today, call the Fulgham Law Firm, P.C., at 817-764-1392.