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When does a DWI charge become a felony?

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Drunk Driving

It is widely known that people cannot legally drive their vehicles in Texas if they are intoxicated. Those who do risk being arrested and charged with a DWI.

If convicted of a DWI, people will face serious consequences. The potential penalties only become worse for repeat offenders.

A first DWI is considered a Class B misdemeanor. After a second DWI, a driver could be convicted of a Class A misdemeanor. After three or more DWIs, they will be charged with a third-degree felony.

Felony DWI charges

According to Texas statues, the potential penalties for a third or subsequent DWI are a fine up to $10,000, a prison sentence between two and 20 years and the driver’s license could be suspended between 180 days and two years.

A DWI, even a first-time DWI, can also be charged as a third-degree felony if the driver caused an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury.

If the intoxicated driver killed someone in the accident, it is a second-degree felony which comes with similar penalties as a third-degree felony, but the maximum prison sentence is increased from 10 years to 20 years.

These are certainly very serious penalties, but people will only experience them if they are convicted of the crimes. Being charged with even a felony DWI does not mean that anyone is presumed guilty.

Any DWI conviction in Texas can be serious, but this is especially true for anyone with three or more DWIs, or anyone who causes injuries in an accident while driving under the influence.

Experienced attorneys understand these defenses and may be able to help protect people’s rights.