Under the Texas Law, driving while intoxicated by alcohol or drugs is a criminal offense that attracts serious legal consequences. In some instances, drivers might be arrested for a DWI charge even when their BAC (blood alcohol concentration) is below the limit defined by law as ‘’intoxicated.’’
Attorney Tad A. Nelson, an experienced DWI lawyer in Houston, has successfully defended people who were both innocent and guilty of their offenses. If you’re looking for a Houston DWI Attorney that knows the best method to beat allegations of Driving While Intoxicated, call 713-489-7373 as soon as possible.
While drugged or drunk driving is illegal across the entire country, every state has particular laws that not only define an offense but also highlight its associated legal penalties. In the state of Texas, the Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 49 houses the general drunk driving laws.
Felony Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Texas
Under the Texas Penal Code, there are four types of felony DWI. Here they are:
This is the most common felony DWI in the state. It’s a new DWI charge with 2 prior convictions. Initially, it used to be the law in the state if 10 years passed from the date of last DWI conviction. Authorities used to treat it as a DWI first. Afterwards, the legislative arm of government made it 10 years from when a person is released from parole, probation, or confinement.
Most recently, the law abolished the ten-year requirement. Any prior DWIs are now usable for enhancement.
DWI with Child Passenger
This is the latest type of felony DWI charge listed in the Penal Code’s DWI Chapter at Section 49.045. The statute elevates 1st DWI charge to the same level as State Jail Felony that is if there’s a child below the age of 15 years in the car. Often, the state has similar problems proving intoxication just like they would in ‘’regular’’ DWI charges. Nonetheless, rarely substantive issues concerning the age of a passenger exist. Of great importance to note is that no prior convictions are necessary for such to be prosecuted as a felony.
Intoxication Assault, according to Section 49.07, refers to an additional element by a defendant by mistake or accident, and by reason of, causes serious bodily harm to another person. The 3 basic defenses here are:
- Intoxication didn’t cause the accident or injury,
- The injury doesn’t fall into the legal classification of ‘’serious bodily injury,’’
- The Defendant wasn’t intoxicated
This is the 4th and final type of felony under the Texas DWI laws. It’s almost the same as the previous felony only that this one causes death rather than serious bodily harm. The good thing is that it’s the least common kind of DWI charge. Both Manslaughter and Assault cases normally entail forced blood draws. Therefore, they’re more challenging to defend compared to other cases. While not unassailable, blood test over 0.8 are more dependable compared to breath tests from an intoxilyzer.
The differences between a DWI felony and a DWI misdemeanor in Texas
DWI charge as a misdemeanor
Plenty of factors can contribute to the jail time, fines, and charges of a DWI conviction. Nevertheless, most 1st and 2nd offense DWI charges result in misdemeanor with various classifications. For example, a 1st offence DWI charge normally results in a Class B misdemeanor that attracts a maximum punishment of 6 months in jail together with a fine of $2000 for a 1st time offender. A 2nd offence DWI charge usually results in Class A misdemeanor that attracts a punishment of upto 1 year in Jail as well as a fine of upto $4000 if you’re a second time offender.
DWI charge as a felony
Your DWI charge might turn out to be a felony conviction in several instances. In Texas, if you’ve been convicted previously of a DWI for two times before, your 3rd DWI arrest might be charged as a 3rd degree felony.
The other circumstance that’s considered a 3rd-degree felony regardless of whether it’s your 1st or 3rd DWI is the intoxication assault of a non-fatal accident whereby someone is disfigured or hurt seriously by a drunk driver. Intoxication manslaughter – an accident which a drunk driver kills someone – might result in a 2nd degree felony.
Nonetheless, the various restrictions and charges that come with a felony punishment in this state can be confusing and complex. Consequently, it’s prudent to hire an experienced, reputable and knowledgeable DWI attorney in Texas to assist you get the least punishment.