A Galveston County man recently learned the hard way that driving while intoxicated can have serious consequences. According to reports, the man was found while passed out in his SUV in a parking lot, surrounded by empty beer bottles. Chemical tests showed that his blood alcohol concentration was greater than .13 percent.
At trial, the jury was told that the man had several prior criminal convictions, including at least two others for DWI. After deliberation, the jury determined that the man was guilty of this most recent DWI offense. The defendant also chose to let the jury decide his sentence, which could range from between 25 years and life. The jury, after considering his history of DWIs, decided that he should spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Felony DWI in Texas
For most people, first DWI and second DWI offenses will be misdemeanors in the state of Texas. Things change when you are arrested for DWI and have at least two prior convictions. At this point, you'll be facing felony DWI criminal charges. The charges and penalties you'll face will become more severe with each additional conviction.
Without any aggravating factors, a third DWI is charged as a 3rd Degree Felony. This carries a penalty of 2 to 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. You'll also lose your license for anywhere between 6 months and two years.
Third or Subsequent DWI, Having Served 1 Term in Prison
If you have been sentenced to spend time in prison at a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), the penalties for subsequent DWIs will be more severe. If you are arrested for a third or subsequent DWI and have served one term in prison, you'll be charged with a 2nd Degree Felony. This carries a penalty of 2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. You'll also lose your license for up to 2 years.
Third or Subsequent DWI, Having Served 2 or More Terms in Prison
The state hopes that spending time behind bars will change your attitude and criminal behavior. If you've been sentenced to spend time at a TDCJ facility more than once, the penalties for any subsequent DWIs will be enhanced. If you are arrested for a third or subsequent DWI after serving two terms in prison, you'll face enhanced felony charges. This carries a penalty of 25 years to life in prison and $10,000 in fines. You'll also risk losing your license for up to 2 years.
Factors That Influence Sentencing
If you have multiple DWI convictions, your prior sentences can influence the penalties you face for any subsequent charges. Factors that can influence sentencing for DWI include:
- DWI involving an accident causing property damage, injury, or death
- Failed breath or blood test
- BAC at or above .15 percent
- DWI involving a young passenger
- Evading police, and
- Reckless driving behavior.
If you're sentenced to prison for a DWI, chances are you'll face extra time behind bars if convicted.
Arrested for DWI in Houston?
If you've been arrested for DWI in Houston you need the help of an experienced attorney. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. to get started on your defense today. Our attorneys have more than 18 years of experience handling DWI cases and can help you fight for your future. Call today to learn more.