Felony DWI in Texas

DWI: When is it a Felony?

Being convicted of a DWI felony is not something that people like to think about. Unfortunately if you ever drive after having a few drinks you run the risk of being charged with such a crime. It is important to know what your rights are and what options you have. Here are answers to some of the most pressing questions:

First time DWI

If this is your first DWI you can expect to be in a lot of trouble but not as bad a repeat offender would be. First time offenders usually have their driving privileges suspended, face steep fines and possible jail time. The good news is that a first DWI charge is not usually a felony. Under normal circumstances, the first time someone is caught driving while intoxicated they are normally charged with a misdemeanor.

When Does it Become a Felony

First time offenders can still be given felony charges, particularly if there are any injuries involved in the accident. This is especially true if a minor is in the car with you or a person in the other vehicle was injured. The more severe the injuries that occur from a DWI crash usually indicates a steeper charge. If a severe injury occurs from a DWI crash, an aggravated felony DWI charge may be sought. A DWI can also be considered a felony charge if the offender has had several prior DWI charges on his or her record.

What Happens If You Get a Felony

A felony charge is much more serious than a misdemeanor charge. When convicted of a felony DWI charge, you will almost always spend time in jail. Also, felony convictions often result in a minimum of a one year jail sentence.

How many DUIs is a felony in Texas?

A third and subsequent DWI conviction in Texas is considered a felony. In addition, if you are found to be at fault in an injury accident while driving under the influence, you may be charged with the felony Intoxication Assault. In addition, drunk drivers who have a child under the age of 15 in the vehicle will be charged with Felony DWI w/ a Child Passenger.

The following are the penalties for these offenses:

  • Penalties of up to $10,000
  • From 2 to 10 years in prison
  • Suspension or revocation of a license
  • Ignition interlock devices are required.

Felony DWI Penalties in Texas

A person charged with a DWI with felony consequences will face criminal prosecution in the same manner as other felony criminal cases. Even if you are not a murderer, rapist, or aggravated robber, you will be treated as a major criminal and a threat to public safety.

Prison Sentence

Felony Convictions In Texas, DWI offenses are treated as 3rd Degree Felonies, carrying a potential prison sentence of 2-20 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice facility.

Suspension of a Texas Driver’s License

In addition to the potential prison sentence, you will face a mandatory Texas Drivers License suspension, which can last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years and will begin after you are released from prison.

Criminal History

Once released from prison, convicted felons may struggle to reintegrate into society. Finding gainful full-time employment, obtaining professional licenses, and even obtaining residency in some areas can be difficult. In fact, some institutions of higher learning may reject applicants who have received a felony criminal conviction.

Intoxication Manslaughter

If someone has died resulting from your DWI accident, you will likely face charges of manslaughter in addition to the DWI charge. These convictions typically come with extremely long jail sentences and oftentimes a lifelong suspension of your driver’s license. These charges are very serious and should not be taken lightly.

When someone is charged with Intoxication Manslaughter, defending oneself becomes infinitely more difficult. The penalties for this type of offense are severe for all parties involved, including the injured party and the accused. In most jurisdictions, intoxication manslaughter is considered a felony crime and carries a sentence of 2-20 years in prison as well as fines of up to $10,000.

Intoxication Manslaughter differs from manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter in that the latter two require evidence of recklessness. However, once it is proven that you were intoxicated while driving the vehicle in question, the law will automatically make the presumption that the act was reckless on its own. As a result, no additional evidence is required to establish reckless driving, and a conviction and/or fine is imminent.

If you have been involved in a DWI accident, life is not over. Yes, it will be difficult for a while but you will get through it. With the help of an attorney experienced in DWI laws, you will know all of the options available and what to expect. An experienced attorney will know how to examine all of the facts so that you receive a fair and just trial.

Contact Houston DWI Attorney Today

If you’ve been arrested and charged with a Felony DWI or Felony DUI in Houston, you should consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Simply give us a call, whether you call us first or last. We will not try to sell you something or scare you into hiring us.