The government charges some forms of intoxicated driving as misdemeanors. Though these cases should be taken seriously, a felony DWI conviction may even more dramatically affect your life. If the government has charged you with a felony crime, you may face years in prison and hefty fines, the court might suspend your driver’s license, and your car insurance premiums may increase.

You have the right to seek out legal advice from a qualified criminal DUI attorney so that you can make an informed decision that is best for you and those in your life. Speak with an Odessa felony DWI lawyer to learn about your rights and your possible legal options and outcomes.

First Offense Felony DWIs

Usually, a first offense of driving under the influence is not a felony. A basic DWI means that an intoxicating substance impaired the driver’s ability to operate a vehicle, or that the driver had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or more, as described in Texas Penal Code §49.04.

However, certain extenuating circumstances may enhance a DWI charge from a misdemeanor to a felony charge. An experienced Odessa felony DWI attorney could identify what circumstances may warrant a felony charge.

Driving with a Child Passenger

If law enforcement stops a driver who is driving drunk with a passenger under 15 years of age, the state may charge that driver with a state jail felony, as noted in T.P.C. §49.045. The two qualifying criteria that make this type of DWI a felony are that the driver is intoxicated on a public road and that they have a young person in the car in them.

Intoxicated Assault

If a person operates a vehicle while intoxicated and injures another person because of their intoxicated state, the state can pursue a conviction for intoxicated assault. Under T.P.C. §49.07, the alleged actor must have caused real physical harm which could result in permanent disfigurement or dysfunction of a body part. A first offense for this type of DWI is a third-degree felony.

Intoxicated Manslaughter

If a person operated a car and another person died as a result of the driver’s action, they may be charged with a second-degree felony under T.P.C. §49.08. The court must be sure that the driver was legally intoxicated and the prosecution must directly link the death to the defendant’s inebriated state in order for a conviction to result.

Third DWI Offenses in Odessa

Typically, a second offense for drunk drinking is a misdemeanor. However, a third offense is a felony, as established in T.P.C. §49.09.

A driver found guilty of a third DWI offense may face two to ten years in prison and a fine of $10,000. The judge may also order that the driver installs an ignition interlock device, require them to complete up to 600 hours of community service, and/or revoke their driver’s license. Assistance from a dedicated felony DWI lawyer in Odessa may be crucial to effectively pursue a more positive outcome when facing this particular charge.

Learn More from an Odessa Felony DWI Attorney

When facing a felony charge, especially one related to driving while intoxicated, it can be imperative that you understand the full extent of your risks and what steps you can take to avoid or mitigate them. An Odessa felony DWI lawyer who is familiar with these types of cases may be able to give you helpful guidance and advice. Schedule a meeting today to get started on your case.