When Is DWI a Felony in Texas?

Driving while intoxicated from alcohol and/or drugs is always a serious legal matter that can deeply impact your life. From your finances, your reputation, and your job to your actual freedom, a Texas DWI conviction can have long-range consequences. You will be facing not only potential jail time, heavy fines, lengthy probationary periods, but the loss of your driving privileges and life going forward with a criminal record.

All of the above generally applies to first and second offenses. However, in certain instances, even these offenses can be elevated to a felony and, when it comes to third or subsequent offenses, the matter generally leads to felony charges as well.

Circumstances that result in DWI felony charges can include:

  • Driving while intoxicated that results in the injuries of another, whether a driver or passenger of another car, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist, or someone else. This will result in a third-degree felony charge regardless of whether this is a first or second offense. It carries penalties of two up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.
  • Driving while intoxicated that results in the death of another person, charged as a second-degree felony. It is punishable by two up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000
  • Driving while intoxicated with a minor under the age of 15 at the time of your arrest. This is charged as a state jail felony carrying penalties of 180 days up to two years in a state jail facility and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • A third DWI offense within a 10-year period is viewed much more seriously by the state. It is charged as a third-degree felony carrying penalties of two up to 10 years of incarceration and fines of up to $10,000.
  • A third or subsequent DWI conviction with prior prison time for any other offense will generally lead to a second-degree felony charge. If you had one prior prison sentence, you would face two to 20 years of incarceration. If you had two or more prior prison terms, you could face 25 years up to life along with fines of up to $10,000.
  • DWI with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or higher when arrested. This is considered an aggravating condition of your arrest that generally leads to harsher sentencing. In a first conviction of this type of aggravated DWI, you will face charges and penalties similar to those a second offense. In a second offense of this kind, you may be facing a felony charge.

How Shane Phelps, P.C. Can Help

Facing any of the above DWI arrest situations demands knowledgeable and experienced defense representation. In Bryan and College Station or anywhere in Brazos County, you will find a criminal defense attorney who stands heads and shoulders above the crowd. Attorney Shane Phelps is Board-Certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, an accomplishment that only about 10 percent of all Texas lawyers attain. This distinction makes him a certified expert in his field of practice. When facing the daunting consequences of a DWI, you can defend your future and freedom with legal excellence at our firm.

Contact us at (979) 773-7028 to arrange for a free case evaluation today.