After being arrested over the weekend, a Bryan man has been charged with his fourth DWI. Because he has three prior convictions, this charge is a third-degree felony, rather than a misdemeanor, as would be the case for a first DWI conviction.

The 49-year-old man was pulled over in the 500 block of Southern Avenue just before 2 a.m. Sunday. The officer who arrested him reported seeing the man change lanes without signaling and cross over the double yellow line.

The officer wrote that when he spoke to the man after pulling him over, he thought the man smelled of alcohol, showed signs of being intoxicated during a field sobriety test and had bloodshot eyes. If the man was given a blood-alcohol content test, which we hope he was, that has not been publicized.

Because the man was convicted of DWI in 1991, 1995 and 1998, the charge against him now is that of a third or more DWI. If he is convicted, he could get a fine of up to $10,000 and a decade in jail.

Given that this is the man's fourth alcohol-related scrape with the law in a decade and a half, we have to wonder whether he has a dependency problem that is not getting the help and attention it needs. People are responsible for their own actions, of course, but we know that addictions sometimes warp people's behavior.

Whatever the outcome of this case, we hope the man is getting any assistance that he might need.

Source: The Bryan-College Station Eagle, "Bryan man facing fourt DWI charge," Feb. 25, 2013

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