All DWI charges carry the potential for incarceration, fines, and license suspensions. However, the potential penalties for a felony DWI are far more severe.
In Texas, there is no “look-back” period for the purposes of DWI charges. This means that a third-offense DWI can be charged as a felony, even if decades have passed since the two prior convictions.
Fortunately, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to assist individuals who are in this situation. A Fort Worth felony DWI lawyer could explain the possible repercussions of a felony DWI conviction and craft a strong defense strategy.
Felony DWI Charges in Fort Worth
Although most DWIs are misdemeanors, various circumstances can lead to a felony DWI charge. For instance, if individuals drive while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 15 in the vehicle, they will face a state jail felony charge under Texas Penal Code § 49.045. A conviction on a state jail felony carries a potential sentence of two years in jail, a $10,000 fine, and a license suspension.
DWI also may be a felony charge when individuals have two or more previous convictions for driving, boating, flying, or operating an amusement ride while intoxicated. Tex. Pen. Code § 49.09 also provides that one prior conviction for intoxication manslaughter, or an equivalent crime in another state, can result in third-degree felony DWI charges. A third-degree felony conviction may result in a prison sentence of two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Collateral Consequences of a Conviction
A felony DWI conviction will result in a license suspension, generally between one and two years. After this period, drivers must pay reinstatement fees to regain their driving privileges. During all or part of the suspension, restricted licenses may be available. A felony DWI attorney in Fort Worth could provide eligible individuals with further information and instructions about their options.
Additionally, if the offense occurs within five years of the most recent prior DWI, the court will order that individuals install an ignition interlock device (IID) on all vehicles that they drive. This typically lasts for at least one year following the expiration of their license suspension period. However, the judge may also order the installation of an IID as a condition of bond following a DWI arrest.
Any felony conviction can also have a serious impact on an individual’s personal and professional life. A criminal record may make it more difficult to find jobs or even eliminate certain career paths altogether. Additionally, convicted felons lose certain civil rights, such as the right to own or possess firearms.
Fort Worth Felony DWI Attorney
Texas laws are particularly harsh for individuals with repeat DWI offenses. Incarceration, fines, license suspension, mandatory ignition interlock devices, and reinstatement fees are just some of the consequences of a felony DWI conviction. Fortunately, a Fort Worth felony DWI lawyer may be able to help defend you against the charges and work to resolve your case in a favorable manner.
When you are facing felony charges, the stakes are extremely high. Contact legal counsel today to discuss your case.