When a DWI Becomes a Felony in Texas

A DWI charge of any level is a serious situation, as it can result in time in jail, fines and a loss of driving privileges. A felony DWI in Texas is among the most serious traffic violations a person may face.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, a first or second DUI offense is typically considered a misdemeanor unless there are aggravating factors present. The factors that can turn those situations into a felony include the following:

  • Having a passenger in the vehicle who is younger than 15
  • Causing an accident that results in serious bodily injury
  • Causing an accident that results in death

According to Texas law, a third or subsequent DUI charge is automatically considered a felony.

These felony charges will come with at least one year or more of jail time. In situations in which driving drunk leads to the death of another person, the defendant could face up to 20 years in jail.

Additionally, administrative penalties include a loss of driving privileges for anywhere between 180 days and life. In some cases, a judge could order that a defendant install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. Additionally, the defendant could be required to do community service and participate in the state’s Substance Abuse Felony Probation program followed by a lengthy probation period.

A felony conviction of any kind can take a serious toll on someone’s future. Criminal records can prevent people from finding suitable employment or housing. Knowing the consequences of these charges can help motivate someone to put a proper defense in place.


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