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Texas Felony DWI – 3rd Offense – 4th Offense DUI

Our law firm helps clients who have been charged with driving while intoxicated. Sometimes clients want to know if we can help them with their 3rd (or greater) DWI charge, or whether the lawyers in our office can handle Felony DWI charges. The answer is, “Yes,” we have experience with all manner of DWI and DUI cases in Texas.

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Texas Penal Code Chapter 49.09 – Enhanced Offenses & Penalties

FIRST OFFENSE DWI

Generally speaking, a first offense DWI conviction is a Class B misdemeanor, carrying a Maximum $2,000 fine and 72 hours – 180 days jail time.

Let’s take a quick look at the applicable statute defining the DWI punishment ranges. (shown in italics below).

2ND OFFENSE DWI

(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days, if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, an offense of operating an aircraft while intoxicated, an offense of operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or an offense of operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

49.09 (a) explains that the 2nd offense DWI is generally a Class A misdemeanor. Class A misdemeanor DWI’s carry a maximum $4,000 fine, minimum 30 days to 1 year jail time, or both.

3RD DEGREE FELONY DWI IN TEXAS

(b) An offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a felony of the third degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted:

(1) one time of an offense under Section 49.08 or an offense under the laws of another state if the offense contains elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense under Section 49.08; or

(2) two times of any other offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, operating an aircraft while intoxicated, operating a watercraft while intoxicated, or operating or assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated.

49.09 (b) (1) & (2) explain that if you have previously been convicted of Intoxication Manslaughter (49.08), or if you have previously been convicted (at least) twice before of any other DWI related offense; then that qualifies as a 3rd Degree Felony DWI.

In other words, a 3rd or 4th DWI in Texas is at least at 3rd Degree Felony.

3rd degree felonies are typically punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison, and an optional $10,000 maximum fine.

2ND DEGREE FELONY DWI

(b-1) An offense under Section 49.07 is a felony of the second degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused serious bodily injury to a peace officer, a firefighter, or emergency medical services personnel while in the actual discharge of an official duty.

49.09 (b-1) explains that any DWI can be raised to a 2nd degree felony if you injure a first responder while they are in the actual discharge of their duty.

2nd degree felonies in Texas typically carry a 2 to 20 years prison sentence, and an optional $10,000 maximum fine.

There is also a provision in Subsection (b-4) describing when a DWI in Texas becomes a 2nd degree felony (listed below).

(b-4) An offense under Section 49.07 is a felony of the second degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused serious bodily injury to another in the nature of a traumatic brain injury that results in a persistent vegetative state.

1ST DEGREE FELONY DWI

(b-2) An offense under Section 49.08 is a felony of the first degree if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person caused the death of a person described by Subsection (b-1).

This section states that Intoxication Manslaughter (49.08) can be raised from a 2nd degree felony to a 1st degree felony…if your DWI ends up killing one of the first responders described in Subsection (b-1) above.

1st degree felonies in Texas are typically punishable by Life or 5 to 99 years in prison, and an optional $10,000 maximum fine.


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You should not rely on this article as valid legal advice. The Texas Criminal Laws are constantly changing faster than we are able to shepardize our blog.

The bottom line is that you should always consult a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. If you need a Dallas Criminal Attorney, then give us a call for a free consultation.

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