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When Does a DWI Become a Felony in Houston?

In a majority of DWI cases, drivers will face misdemeanor allegations. Depending on the circumstances involved, misdemeanors can subject convicted individuals to serious penalties that include large fines, probation, and possible terms of imprisonment. When a DWI becomes a felony, however, the penalties and repercussions are greatly enhanced. Individuals convicted of a felony DWI face the harshest penalties – including minimum mandatory terms of imprisonment – and are often forced to endure long-term, if not life-changing, consequences.

Although most DWI and DUI cases in Texas are not felonies, there are several situations that can lead to enhanced felony charges.

Third or Subsequent DWI

In Texas, drivers can face felony allegations if they have been convicted of two or more DWIs or related convictions in the past. This means that a third DWI, as well as any subsequent DWI, can be charged as a felony offense. Prior DWI and DUI convictions and out-of-state DWI convictions will be considered.

DWI with a Child Passenger

Unlike some states, Texas makes it a felony offense to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance with a child passenger. Passengers under the age of 15 are considered children under Texas law and no prior DWI convictions are necessary for prosecutors to pursue felony charges. A first offense under this statute is a state jail felony and is punishable by up to $10,000 in fines, between 180 days and 2 years imprisonment, or both. Other penalties may include probation and driver's license suspension or revocation.

Intoxication Assault

Intoxication assault is a felony level DWI offense that occurs when an impaired driver causes "serious bodily injury" to another. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony and is punishable by fines up to $10,000, between 2 and 10 years imprisonment, or both.

Intoxication Manslaughter

Intoxication manslaughter is the most serious DWI charge and will arise when a motorist driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes death. As a second-degree felony, intoxication manslaughter can subject convicted individuals to imprisonment between 2 and 20 years.

Facing Felony DWI Charges in Texas? Consult with an Experienced Houston DWI Lawyer!

At The Samuelson Law Firm, an experienced Houston DWI attorney is prepared to represent individuals charged with DWI, including the most serious felony allegations. If you or your loved one is currently facing felony DWI charges in Houston or any of the surrounding communities of Texas, do not hesitate to request your free consultation to learn more about the charges and penalties you face. The Samuelson Law Firm knows that your freedom and future is at stake, and Attorney Chris Samuelson is prepared to fight on your behalf.

Call (281)407-9553 or fill out a free case evaluation form today.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.