Is Drunk Driving a Felony in Texas?

Man is crestfallen as officer presents him a breathalyzer test.

We all know that Texas courts are tough on those accused of DWI, but is drunk driving a felony in Texas? Penalties for DWI will vary drastically based on the circumstances of the arrest and the criminal history of the driver, but the consequences of a conviction are steep no matter the circumstances. 

Javier Guzman is here to explain when and why drunk driving is a felony in Texas and advise on what you should do if you’ve been arrested. Not only is Javier an aggressive and accomplished Laredo DWI attorney, but he is the only attorney in Laredo who is an ACS-CHAL Lawyer Scientist. If you or a loved one has been arrested under suspicion of DWI in Texas, call Javier today at (956) 516-7198 and ask him to fight for you. 

Is a DWI a felony in Texas?

What is a DWI classified as in Texas? A DWI in Texas can either be a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the circumstances. The most common reasons for DWIs to be charged as felonies are previous convictions for DWI and aggravating factors present at the time of the arrest. 

Common aggravating factors at the time of arrest that will increase the severity of a DWI charge include:

  • Blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.15 or higher
  • An already suspended or revoked license
  • Presence of a minor in the car
  • Excessive speeding
  • Causation of an accident causing severe bodily injury or death of another party

Without the presence of any of the above aggravating factors, the severity of DWI charges depends mostly upon the number of previous DWI charges the driver has. 

Is a first-time DWI a felony in Texas?

Some of the most frequent questions that we get are questions about the severity of a first-offense DWI. The good news is that with no aggravating factors present, a first DWI charge in Texas will likely be a Class B misdemeanor. 

Is a second DWI a felony in Texas? 

With no aggravating factors present, a charge for DWI second offense in Texas will likely be a Class A misdemeanor, although judges are usually much harder on second-offense DWIs than they are on first offenses. 

While facing a misdemeanor charge is preferable to a felony charge, misdemeanor charges are not to be taken lightly. They can still land you in jail for up to a year, and carry all of the same tertiary DWI penalties that can negatively impact your life, such as damage to your personal and professional life, increased insurance premiums, limited job opportunities, damage to your reputation, and more. 

Is a third DWI a felony in Texas?

A third DWI offense in Texas is automatically a third-degree felony. Third strikes for DWI come with mandatory prison time and brand you as a felon, which means that, in addition to the already severe penalties, you will have a harder time finding work, lose your right to vote and to own firearms, and lose any government benefits that you are collecting — that is if you are convicted. 

This is why it is so essential to hire an experienced and dedicated DWI lawyer to take your DWI case. The lawyer fighting the charge, regardless of whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or felony DWI, is the last line of defense between your freedom and the prosecution. 

What is the punishment for drunk driving in Texas?

Possible punishments for DWI convictions in Texas are summarized below.

OffenseChargeFineJail time
First offenseClass B misdemeanorUp to $2,0003 – 180 days
Second offenseClass A misdemeanorUp to $4,0003 days – 1 year
Third or fourth offenseThird-degree felonyUp to $10,0002 – 10 years in prison
DWI with a child passengerState jail felonyUp to $10,000180 days – 2 years
Intoxication assaultThird-degree felonyUp to $10,0002-10 years in prison
Intoxication manslaughterSecond-degree felonyUp to $10,0002-20 years in prison

In addition to the tertiary damage to your life and reputation, additional secondary punishments for all DWI charges can include:

  • Probation
  • Ignition interlock devices
  • Community service
  • DWI education or intervention programs
  • Annual charges of between $1,000 and $2,000 for license renewal 

If you’ve been charged with DWI in Texas you’ve got to fight with all of your might to avoid a conviction. The best thing that you can do to prepare yourself for the fight of your life is to hire a lawyer who goes to trial and wins cases

Misdemeanor or felony DWI, your charge will require expert DWI defense

Is drunk driving a felony in Texas? If there are aggravating factors involved in your arrest or you have previous DWI convictions, there is a good chance it will be classified as a felony for you. Because DWIs are cumulative in Texas, you’ve got to fight your charge if you want to save your future, whether this is your first DWI or your third.

Javier Guzman is a respected and relentless criminal defense attorney in Laredo, TX, and he will take your complex criminal charge to court and fight for your rights in front of a judge or jury. Javier knows the science and the law behind DWI and uses both in tandem to construct formidable defenses for his clients. 

Call Guzman Law Firm today at (956) 516-7198 or contact us online for relentless representation.

More Helpful Articles by Guzman Law Firm: