The Texas Penal Code classifies driving while intoxicated as a felony offense under certain circumstances. If a motorist has prior DWI convictions, causes serious bodily injury or brings about another individual’s death, a prosecutor may file a felony charge.
As noted by the Texas Department of Transportation, an individual may also face a felony charge when operating a vehicle under the influence with a child in the car. If convicted, a motorist may spend up to two years incarcerated and pay a $10,000 fine if the minor is under the age of 15.
A repeat DWI offense could result in a felony charge
The first and second DWI convictions generally classify as misdemeanor offenses in Texas. A third offense, however, becomes a felony. If a prosecutor convicts a defendant of a third DWI, a judge may order a sentence that includes between two and 10 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.
After prison, an individual may anticipate a license suspension lasting up to two years. A judge may also order the installation of an ignition interlock, which requires blowing into a device before a car’s engine can start. While on probation, some individuals may need to attend a drug or alcohol treatment program.
A probation violation may end in another felony DWI charge
When a Lone Star State resident completed her time in prison, she signed a five-year probation agreement, and then received another DWI charge. As reported by the Kerrville Daily Times, a judge sentenced her to two extra years in prison after she pleaded guilty to an additional felony offense.
If an officer stops a motorist already on probation for at least two prior DWI convictions, a subsequent charge may result in serious penalties. An individual, however, may defend against a prosecutor’s evidence that he or she operated a vehicle while intoxicated.