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What Contributes to Very Long DWI Sentences

Posted by Doug Murphy | Apr 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

You've probably seen or heard shocking headlines of a DWI conviction leading to a very long prison sentence. Those headlines shock us because we rightly believe that the penalty for a first DWI conviction is usually a relatively short jail sentence, if any jail time, plus a reasonable fine and maybe license suspension or restriction of some kind. What makes those huge prison sentences in some DWI cases? Should someone facing an ordinary DWI conviction be concerned over the possibility of crazy prison time?

An Aggravating Case

A sixty-year prison sentence in a March 2021 Midland, Texas DWI case shows the sort of aggravating example such long prison terms typically take. This report tells of the unfortunate defendant's conviction for intoxication manslaughter, meaning that the drunken driver killed another in the accident that brought about his arrest. Intoxication manslaughter is a serious crime, although not one that alone ordinarily produces such a severe sixty-year sentence. Instead, Texas Penal Code Secction 19.04 makes manslaughter a second-degree felony punishable by two to twenty years, not sixty years.

While the report does not indicate the judge's special grounds for the extraordinary sixty-year sentence, several other details in the report suggest the aggravating circumstances at work. The report indicates that the defendant had driven five miles down Interstate 20 in the wrong direction, with vehicles veering out of his way, before the deadly crash. The report further indicates that after the defendant had allegedly imbibed at two different clubs, he had picked up his wife and child in the crash vehicle. A DWI with a child passenger can be an aggravating child-endangerment crime. The report doesn't indicate the extent of passenger injuries.

The report further indicates the drunken driver's blood-alcohol content of about double the legal limit, another compelling detail. A final irony to the story, though, puts the unusual case over the top. The report indicates that at the accident scene, the defendant was wearing wristbands advertising DWI bail-bond companies, suggesting a history of prior DWI offenses. A first offense, even one causing injury or death, isn't likely to lead to a sixty-year sentence. Multiple offenses that result in final convictions enhance DWI penalties.

Expert Representation Makes a Difference

Expert representation can help you beat a Texas DWI charge. Your best opportunity to avoid a conviction is to retain Board Certified DWI Specialist and national DWI expert Doug Murphy. Do the right thing, and get the best available representation to defend the charge. Yet premier representation becomes all the more important when facing the possibility of an enhanced sentence on an aggravated charge, such as a DWI with a child passenger or an intoxication manslaughter charge.

Whether your challenge is to defeat a DWI charge or to avoid lengthy jail time, 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy is your answer. Attorney Murphy provides you with the best opportunity to get the DWI charge behind you while preserving your job, license, career, and reputation. You can trust the skills and expertise of attorney Doug Murphy because he is one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.

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