Third degree felony DWI could mean prison time for Texas woman

Different drunk driving charges can carry different penalties, though any penalty can carry serious consequences. For example, even being charged with a DWI for the first time can mean spending time in jail and paying a fine.

A third degree felony DWI charge, on the other hand, can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and having your license suspended. Along with those penalties, there are financial penalties as well. A woman was arrested earlier this week in Texas and charged with intoxication assault, a third degree felony DWI.

In Texas, a third degree felony DWI means that an individual has two or more previous DWI convictions or caused an accident that left someone injured. The second scenario is known as intoxication assault.

According to police, the woman had been drunk driving when she struck a man who was biking down the highway in the designated bike lane. When officers arrived at the scene, they administered a field sobriety test which she apparently failed. There is no information as to whether the woman was also asked to take a breath test. In addition to the DWI charge, she was also charged with failing to control her speed.

One issue that has been raised is whether the bicyclist had any lights on him when the woman crashed into him. The cyclist was hospitalized with injuries after being hit.

A judge set bail for the woman, but the extent of the penalties she is facing will not be certain until her court appearance. At this point, if she is convicted of intoxication assault she may spend the next ten years in prison. Even a few years in prison can change the course of her life.

Source: The Monitor online, "Woman charged with intoxication assault after striking cyclist," Naxiely Lopez, 09 February 2011

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