A felony DWI is not an ordinary DWI; it is an offense that could have more than the consequence of prison time and high fines: it could affect your entire life, from your job to your studies to your family. Under no circumstances do you want to let a felony DWI case happen without a fight. Doug Murphy is a Board-certified DWI and Board-certified criminal defense lawyer in the Houston area who never represents a client without putting up a fight, and he is here to take on your fight, too, if that means keeping you out of jail and maintaining your professional, academic and social reputation. Doug is only one of two lawyer in Texas who is board certified in DWI Defense and Criminal Law. Experience and expertise matter.
With Doug Murphy, you hire an attorney who always prepares each case with the intent to go to trial. Some may not understand the importance of this distinction from other DWI lawyers who prefer to settle and rarely see the inside of a court system, but the difference is real and tangible: the protection of your life, your freedom, and your rights. With those attorneys who prefer to never see inside a courtroom, sure, you might get a plea agreement -- possibly -- but you will likely never have the opportunity to have charges against you dismissed before trial even happens or acquittal should trial take place. Having an attorney like Doug Murphy who has a reputation built on his trial experience can benefit you and your case greatly. And when it's a felony DWI, you need the best, most aggressive defense you can get.
Felony DWIs in Texas
There are four different felony DWIs with which you could be charged in Texas: (1) third DWI; (2) DWI with Child Passenger; (3) Intoxication Assault; and (4) Intoxication Manslaughter.
Third or Subsequent DWI
If you have two prior DWI convictions, then your third and any subsequent DWIs in Texas qualify as felony DWIs. Many years ago, it used to be in Texas that if your prior DWI conviction happened ten years ago, then any new DWI conviction would be treated as though it was your first. That changed and now any prior DWIs will be counted as prior DWIs regardless how long ago they occurred, and once you reach your third, you are no longer looking at a misdemeanor, but a third degree felony that carries with it -- if convicted -- a jail range of 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).
If, however, it is your third or more DWI with 1 prior TDCJ penitentiary trip, then you can be punished with a second degree felony, doubling the amount of time you spend in jail upon a conviction (jail range of 2 to 20 years). If it is your third or more DWI with 2 prior TDCJ penitentiary trips, then your charge will be an enhanced felony that increases your jail range exponentially to 25 years to life in prison upon convicted.
Your primary defense is that you were not intoxicated, but in lieu of that defense, an experienced DWI attorney will prepare for trial by filing motions to suppress any evidence based on constitutional challenges and/or challenges to sobriety, blood or breath tests, whichever is applicable.
DWI with Child Passenger
Being charged with a DWI with a passenger under 15 years old in the car with you is a felony in Texas. Regardless if the charge is your first offense or your fifth offense, it will be a state jail felony offense that carries with it 6 months to 2 years in jail. Your primary defense--again--is that you were not intoxicated, and accompanying that defense will be any applicable constitutional challenges and challenges to sobriety, blood or breath tests, whichever are applicable.
Known as an extreme DWI, intoxication assault is a third degree felony DWI offense elevated to an intoxication assault charge because the defendant “by accident or mistake… and by reason of ...intoxication causes serious bodily injury to another.” No prior convictions are necessary. If convicted, you could face 2 to 10 years in prison. Possible defenses include: (1) you were not actually intoxicated illegally; (2) the injury sustained from the accident does not fit into the legal category of “serious bodily injury”; and (3) even though you may have been intoxicated, your intoxication did not cause the injury or accident; another factor caused the accident. Constitutional challenges and challenges to any sobriety, blood or breath test may be worked into your defense strategy as appropriate.
Also known as an extreme DWI, intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony DWI offense elevated to an intoxication manslaughter charge because you were involved in and suspected of causing an accident that resulted in the death of another person, whether it was a passenger in your vehicle or a driver or passenger of another vehicle, or a pedestrian, or a bicyclist. No prior convictions are necessary. If convicted, you could face 2 to 10 years in prison. Possible defenses include: (1) you were not actually intoxicated illegally; and/or (2) even though you may have been intoxicated, your intoxication did not cause the accident or resulting death; another factor caused the accident. Depending on the facts of your case, constitutional challenges and challenges to any sobriety, blood or breath test may be worked into your defense strategy as appropriate.
These charges are all serious charges, and Doug Murphy does not shy away from using any and all the tools available to him. What is sometimes more important than the "tools," however, is the strategy that incorporates those tools. Doug Murphy is thoughtful and tactful. His experience of two decades has propelled him into the unique position to teach other DWI and criminal defense attorneys in Texas and beyond how to best help their clients, too. He is not someone what talks the talk, he walks the walk, regardless how difficult the path may be.
Consequences of a Felony DWI
In the descriptions of each felony DWI, the range of jail time is already provided. In addition to jail, you could face fines up to $10,000 for any of these offenses and license suspension starting at 90 days for a state jail felony DWI to up to 2 years for any of the other felony DWIs. Imagine life without a vehicle for 2 years! Of course, there is the potential for an ignition interlock device (IID), but even with an IID you will likely be restricted where and when you can drive.
The worst part about a felony, however, are the socio-economic consequences that happen outside the court. If convicted of a felony DWI, it has the potential to affect your career, especially when applying for jobs or if you require a professional license (e.g., pilot, medical or nursing) or security clearance. Most employers do not want to hire an ex-convict for liability and trust reason, and most professional licenses and/or security clearances will be stripped upon a DWI conviction. On the other hand, if you were intending for applying for either a professional license or security clearance, forget about it for the time being--in some cases, you may be able to apply within a year or so, but in other cases, you may never get the opportunity to apply.
Furthermore, if you were intending on attending higher education, your admissions may be at stake and/or any federal loans you may need to attend. Housing, if you rent, can also become a problem because many nicer places today check backgrounds and deny applications to anyone with a criminal record. Additionally, if you are in the middle of a custody battle or divorce, your felony can affect when or if you are able to see your children. And if you are a gun owner, your right to bear arms will be taken from you.
Consequences of a Felony DWI are serious and life-altering. If you value both your life and your freedom, you can't risk settling for a plea agreement, you need to fight the charge altogether. That means: having your day in court. And there is one attorney whose reputation is defined by his success at DWI trial: Doug Murphy.
How Can Doug Murphy Defend Against My Felony DWI in Texas?
While 90 percent of criminal defense lawyers settle by plea bargain, Doug Murphy is not one of them. He values your time, your freedom and your rights, and he is willing to put in the effort to make sure your rights are upheld in a court of law.
Doug Murphy is known to go to trial in DWI matters, and he is known to win his cases. He is fearless and will challenge any DWI charge before a judge and jury with strategy and skill. When most other attorneys prefer not to enter a courtroom, Doug Murphy almost always anticipates it, and he will prepare your case from the moment you hire him as though it were going to trial. The State knows when they see Doug Murphy's name as the attorney that they can anticipate an uphill battle when arguing their case against you.
You Murphy has your best interests in mind, rather than the interests of expediency that so many other criminal defense attorneys prefer.
Board-Certified DWI Criminal Defense Lawyer in Houston, Texas
Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board certified criminal defense lawyer and a Board-certified DWI lawyer who fights on behalf of his clients and gives back to the legal community by teaching other attorneys how to do the same. Contact Doug Murphy online or at 713-229-8333 today to discuss the circumstances of your case.