Facing a DWI arrest in Houston can be frightening. You may be worried about possible jail time, losing your license, or whether this can affect your career. But it's important to remember that you are innocent until proven guilty. Moreover, even if a court does convict you, you're human. We all make mistakes. If we learn from our errors and strive to improve, we can move forward without looking back. But if we fail to learn from our mistakes, the consequences can be serious. That's what a Midland man recently discovered after his seventh DWI arrest.
A Conviction for a Seventh DWI
Midland police stopped the man for driving erratically on Loop 250. The Midland Police Department reported that he refused to participate in field sobriety tests or submit to a breathalyzer test. But he freely admitted that he was “highly intoxicated.” The police also found “numerous” bottles of alcohol in his car.
On September 30, 2022, the Midland County District Attorney, Laura Nodolf, announced that a jury convicted him and sentenced him to 25 years in prison. This was the Midland man's seventh conviction for DWI, and he won't be eligible for parole until he's served at least one-quarter of his sentence.
Texas DWI Penalties
While the example of the Midland man with seven convictions for DWI is an extreme case, the consequences for multiple DWIs can be serious in Texas. A third or subsequent DWI conviction can be a felony offense. Moreover, aggravating circumstances involved in a DWI, such as a serious injury, a death, or a child passenger, can also result in felony charges.
- First DWI: In Texas, a first DWI is a Class B misdemeanor, and a conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $2,000. You could also have your license suspended for a year and receive a mandatory administrative fine of $3,000, $6,000 if your BAC is over .15%.
- Second DWI: A second DWI in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor. A second conviction can land you in jail and face fines of up to $4,000. Additionally, you'll have your license suspended for up to two years, and you must pay an additional $4,500 mandatory administrative fine for a second DWI in the last 36 months. The fine goes up to $6,000 if your BAC is over .15%.
- Third or Subsequent DWI: In Texas, a third DWI can be a third-degree felony, and a fourth DWI or a subsequent DWI is a second-degree felony. With a conviction for a felony DWI, you can face ten to twenty years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. You'll also have your license suspended for up to two years and must pay a mandatory administrative fine of $3,000. For a second DWI conviction in 36 months, the fine goes up to $4,500. If your BAC is over .15%, the penalty is $6,000.
- Intoxication Assault: If you're in an accident due to driving while intoxicated, and someone is seriously injured, you could face charges for intoxication assault. Also known as DWI with serious bodily injury, intoxication assault is a third-degree felony in Texas. However, the offense can become a second-degree felony if the injured person is in a vegetative state. If another first responder is seriously injured in the line of duty due to your accident, you could face felony first-degree charges. Penalties for a felony conviction can result in up to twenty years in prison and a $10,000 fine, in addition to a license suspension and hefty administrative fines.
- Intoxication Manslaughter: If you cause an accident that kills someone while driving intoxicated, you could face charges for intoxication manslaughter. In Texas, intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, but it can also be a first-degree felony, depending on who dies in the accident. If you're facing intoxication manslaughter charges, you will also face an additional DWI charge. A conviction for a second-degree felony can result in prison for up to 20 years and a $10,000 fine. You will also face suspension of your driver's license and mandatory administrative fines of $3,000 to $6,000, depending on whether this is your first DWI and your BAC level.
- DWI with a Child Passenger: In Texas, if you're arrested for a DWI while a child under the age of 14 is in the car, you'll face charges for DWI with a child passenger, which is a state jail felony. A conviction for a state jail felony can result in jail time of up to two years and a $10,000 fine.
In addition to jail time and fines for DWIs, the court may also order you to install an interlock ignition device, complete an alcohol or drug education course, attend a DWI school, and complete community service hours.
You Need an Expert in Complex Texas DWI Defense
If you're facing a second or subsequent DWI charge, you should be concerned about the serious consequences resulting from multiple DWI convictions. That's why it's essential that you get the advice of an expert in Texas DWI law right away. Attorney Doug Murphy holds Texas Board Certifications in both DWI Defense and Criminal Defense Law, making him an expert in these specialty areas of the law. Doug is one of only two attorneys in the state with these certifications, so you know that you're getting the best possible DWI defense. Doug's wide-ranging experience, technical DWI knowledge, and vast litigation experience mean he can guide your complex DWI case to the best possible resolution.
U.S. News and World Report also named Doug Murphy named to Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyer in America 2023 for Houston DWI defense. This recognition from Best Lawyers in America comes from nominations and votes from his fellow Houston attorneys, a mark of the high regard his peers hold for his legal skills in DWI defense. The skilled attorneys at the Doug Murphy Law Firm have helped hundreds of people in the Houston area, and they can help you too. Contact the firm online or call 713-229-8333 to schedule your consultation.