DWI or Driving While Intoxicated is considered one of the most popular reasons for getting flagged down when driving. Drunk driving is also one of the most common causes of road accidents. Therefore, both national and state laws are becoming strict in implementing road rules and regulations to lessen accidents causing property damages and human injuries.
When charged with DWI, the consequences may vary depending on the severity of your offense and the number of times you get charged for it. The court also takes into consideration the time frame between these charges. Whether you have an existing DWI case or you know someone who has, or you are just curious about it, here are the basics you need to know on the penalties and consequences of a DWI charge.
DWI Charge as Misdemeanor
When you get a DWI charge, do not jump into the conclusion that it is a felony already. Factors are contributing to it. Most of the time, the first and second charges get considered as misdemeanor cases. It is dependent on the matter. The first conviction often comes as a Class B misdemeanor and is punishable to up to six months in prison, and you need to pay a fine of a maximum of $2000. For your second time offense, the consequences are more severe than the first one. When convicted, you can go to prison for a maximum of a year and pay up to $4000 in fines.
DWI Charge as Felony
You might wonder when is a dwi a felony in texas? or can it get considered a felony? The straight answer to that is yes; it can get regarded as DWI in some instances. But again, as mentioned earlier, it depends on the situation. Most of the time, it will only be a felony if the result of drunk driving is severe, like in cases where a lot of properties were damaged, or people got hurt or even died.
Here are the primary instances where a DWI charge may become a felony.
It Is Your Third Offense
Getting charged numerously for DWI is a problem. For most people, once is enough, but if it happens multiple times, the chances are that it could get worse. Therefore, DWI third offense is a felony punishable by up to ten years in jail with a fine of up to $10,000. Your license may also get suspended for a maximum of two years with an annual charge of a maximum of $10,000 to retain your driver’s license.
Good read: Why Is it Bad to Drink & Drive?
You Injured Someone
When it comes to causing injuries, the law is stringent. If you were proven to have hurt someone while driving drunk, especially when it is over the 0.08 alcohol limit, then you will get charged for a felony. The term for this is intoxication assault under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.07.
You Killed Someone
DWI and killing someone is called intoxication manslaughter under the Texas Penal Code Section 49.08. It is a severe crime and gets considered a second-degree felony. Therefore, the consequences will follow the punishment for this degree of offense.
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