A motorcyclist has died nearly one week after a suspected Houston DWI accident. According to reports, 33-year-old Ricardo Lozoya was unable to survive the extent of the injuries he sustained in the October 14th crash. The accident involved 36-year-old Victor Godoy, Jr., who is suspected to have been intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Godoy Jr. was arrested on suspicion of DWI after the early morning accident. Police records indicate that this DWI event is not the driver's first DWI offense. He was convicted of DWI in 2013 and ordered to spend 180 days behind bars. Because of this prior conviction, Godoy will face criminal charges for a second DWI. Since the motorcyclist died from his injuries, it's also possible for Godoy Jr. to face charges for intoxication manslaughter.
Is a Second DWI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?
If you have already been found guilty of DWI the stakes will be higher if you're ever arrested again. A second DWI is typically charged as a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. A Class A misdemeanor is the most serious crime you can commit without being charged with a felony.
As a Class A misdemeanor, second DWI offenses are punishable by a wide range of penalties. These can include:
- A minimum of 72 hours in jail,
- A maximum of 12 months in jail,
- Criminal fines not exceeding $4,000,
- License suspension for up to 12 months, and/or
- Probation for two years.
Probation can include requirements to perform community service, attend drug and alcohol counseling or rehabilitation, and/or abstain from all drug and alcohol use. The terms of probation will be modified and tailored to suit each specific case.
DWI Charges Can Be Aggravated If There's An Accident
The consequences of DWI can become much more severe if you're involved in an accident. Any aggravating factors -- which can include causing property damage, injury, or death -- can result in harsher charges and penalties.
The motorcyclist involved in Godoy Jr.'s accident has died from his injuries. Godoy Jr. can be held criminally responsible for his death since it was caused by the DWI accident. It doesn't matter that the victim didn't die instantly. Criminal charges for intoxication manslaughter can be filed as long as the DWI accident caused the death.
Intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony in Texas. So, Godoy Jr. can face felony criminal charges even though this is only his second DWI. Aggravating factors relevant to his case have changed the circumstances.
As a second degree felony, intoxication manslaughter is punishable by $10,000 in fines and between 2 and 20 years in prison. If convicted, a driver may also be required to complete at least two years of supervised release and forfeit their driver's license for an extended period of time. A conviction for intoxication manslaughter will also generate a felony criminal record.
It's important to ask for help if you've been arrested for DWI in Houston. Hiring an attorney will help you assert a strong defense and secure the best possible result in your case. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to schedule a free consultation and learn more.