DWI: Felony or Misdemeanor?

Is a DWI a felony in Texas? Is it a misdemeanor? It could be either, depending on your case. Felony DWI isn’t common in Texas. Many DWI charges such as DWI in Texas, first offense and others are misdemeanors. (Further reading: Class B misdemeanors)

However, certain circumstances could make you face a Felony DWI in Texas. And if you are facing a felony DWI in Texas, you’re going to need a Houston DWI lawyer with thousands of dismissals under their belt. Learn more about each of these factors that could lead to felony DWI charges.

Already charged with a felony DWI in Texas? The prosecution and police are already building their case against you. Get a triple board-certified lawyer that beat intoxication manslaughter charges, along with 100s of Not Guilty verdicts. Contact us now, 24/7.

When is it considered a felony DWI in Texas?

Earlier we asked, “Is a DWI a felony in Texas?” Here’s when DWI will be a felony in Texas. After a second DWI in Texas, additional offenses are considered felonies. Depending on the individual circumstances, it could be deemed a 2nd or 3rd degree felony. So if you’re asking the question, “Is a 3rd DWI a felony in Texas?” the answer, unfortunately, is yes. 

It’s also important to know that there are special situations where your first or second DWI could be a felony:

Felony DWI in Texas (First or Second Offense)

  • DWI with a Child in the Car
  • Accidents Causing Injury
  • Accidents Causing Death

Felony DWI in Texas (Third Offense or More)

  • Third DWI in Texas
  • 4th DWI in Texas (Or more)

While you may have been able to get away with community service, fines, and a license suspension with your first and even your second DWI, you almost certainly won’t be as lucky with a 3rd or 4th DWI. 

The more DWIs you have, the harsher the penalties become. One or two DWIs could be passed off as “dumb mistakes.” Three or four DWIs will likely be considered a trend and will be more difficult to fight in court, thus the charges for felony DWI in Texas. 

Another thing to remember is that the circumstances surrounding your 1st or 2nd DWI may also constitute a felony. For example, if you were DWI and got charged with intoxication manslaughter in Houston, that is a felony. And if you get caught DWI with a child in the car, that charge can also be a felony. 

In other words, under the right circumstances, even a 1st or 2nd DWI could be charged as a felony DWI.

What are the felony DWI Texas penalties?

When you’re faced with a 1st or 2nd DWI, the penalties are relatively manageable. With a skilled lawyer, it’s likely that you could end up with a misdemeanor, no jail time, up to $2k in fines, and a license suspension. However, if you’re picked up for a felony DWI in Texas, things can quickly become considerably worse. 

But a felony DWI in Texas can involve some pretty serious penalties. So, if you’re coming up on your 3rd DWI in Texas or 4th DWI in Texas, you might want to pump the brakes a bit (…or a lot) unless you want to face up to $10k in fines and up to 10 years in prison.

Here are the penalties you could end up facing for a felony DWI in Texas:

1st or 2nd DWI with a child in the car

Jail time: up to 2 years
Fines: up to $10,000
License suspension: up to 180 days
Annual fees: up to $2,000

3rd or 4th DWI (intoxication manslaughter not involved)

Prison time: up to 10 years
Fines: up to $10,000
License suspension: up to 2 years
Annual fee: up to $1,500 for up to 3 years

3rd or 4th DWI (with prior jail time served)

Prison time: up to 20 years (up to 25 years if multiple sentences have been served) 
Fines: up to $10,000
License suspension: up to 2 years
Annual fee: up to $1,500 for up to 3 years

Intoxication manslaughter (any number of DWI convictions)

Prison time: up to 20 years
Fines: up to $10,000
License suspension: up to 2 years
Annual fee: up to $1,500 for up to 3 years

On top of these baseline penalties, you also have to consider the hidden penalties associated with a felony DWI. When all is said and done, a felony DWI in Texas can cost way more than $10,000, and those few years spent in prison will seem like a walk in the park compared to the lifetime of pushback you can receive with a felony DWI on your record.

With a felony DWI, finding a job, getting a place to live, and handling any type of custody case all become exceedingly more difficult.

How to beat a felony DWI in Texas

Facing a felony DWI in Texas may seem frightening, and rightfully so. The penalties associated with a 3rd and 4th DWI are not pleasant, and it’s critical that you do everything you can to lessen these penalties as much as possible. That’s where we step in.

While blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing can put you behind bars, with the right representation, it may also help you stay away from them. An experienced and skilled DWI lawyer can leverage the flawed science behind breathalyzer tests and blood draws to fight your charges and win.

With Board Certified Criminal Lawyer and Board Certified DWI Specialist Mark Thiessen on the Thiessen Law Firm team, we have what it takes to get your life back on track. We know how to beat a felony DWI, how to beat a felony drug charge, and more. 

Specifically, we leverage the flawed nature of BAC testing, as well as a variety of other proven defense tactics to provide the best possible representation and  ultimately help our clients overcome felony DWI charges. 

Mark has won over 100 Not Guilty verdicts and thousands of dismissals. He has the track record you’re looking for. Whether you’re facing an intoxication manslaughter case, need help with expungement in Texas, or are coming face-to-face with your first DWI, we can help. 

Give us a call at 713-864-9000 or fill out our online form to request a free DWI consultation today.

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.