Recently on our legal forum a user asked, “I have a drinking problem. Last night after leaving a bar in Austin, Texas, I was arrested. My blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was well over the legal limit of 0.08%. This will be my third Texas DWI in three years. I am wondering if I will be convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony DWI in Texas?
What is a Texas DWI?
It is illegal in every state to operate a motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Like other states, the State of Texas considers driving while intoxicated (DWI) to be a very serious offense. Harsh penalties and high fines are common whether you have been arrested for a first second or third Texas DWI.
DWI charges in Texas may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony charge. For example, assuming there are no other aggravating factors, your first Texas DWI is charged as a Class B Misdemeanor. Your second Texas DWI conviction is a Class A Misdemeanor, and your third Texas DWI conviction is considered a 3rd Degree Felony.
What are the penalties if I am charged with a felony Texas DWI?
If you are charged with a felony Texas DWI it is imperative that you contact a DWI lawyer. Penalties for a felony DWI in Texas could include prison time of 2 to 10 years, fines up to $10,000, license revocation, and community service of 160 to 600 hours.
Other long-term consequences of a felony charge can include the loss of the right to vote, exclusion from jury duty, and the loss of the right to possess a firearm. Felons may also find it more difficult to find employment or be barred from obtaining certain types of professional licenses.
When could my first or second Texas DWI be charged as a felony?
Now this does not pertain to your particular case, but it is also important to note that drivers may also be charged with a felony DWI for a second or third DWI if certain aggravating factors occur. For example, you may be charged with a felony offense for your second DWI charge if the DWI violation occurred with a car accident that caused serious bodily injury or death of another person.
Other factors which could increase the charge or penalties for a first or second DWI charge include your blood alcohol level at the time of your arrest, injury to another person, operating the motorized vehicle while intoxicated with a minor in the car, and operating a motorized vehicle with a suspended license.
Now is the time to hire a lawyer. If you are still in jail they can help post bond for you and represent you throughout the entire process. They can review whether it’s right to make a plea deal or if it’s better to fight the Texas DWI charges and go to trial.
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