Is DWI in Texas a Misdemeanor or Felony?

Under Texas criminal laws, DWI can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. Whether felony or misdemeanor, DWI is a serious charge that should be fought on every level possible. Being convicted of a DWI in Texas will have lasting consequences, financial penalties, and possible jail or prison time.

The way to fight a DWI charge in the Dallas area will vary depending on a number of circumstances. The evidence collected by the police during their DWI investigation will always play a vital role in what options are available to you. But the seriousness of the charge, whether misdemeanor or felony, will also play a role.

Misdemeanor DWI Under Texas Law

A lot of first time DWIs and less serious offenses will be classified as misdemeanors. The charge of DWI under Texas law is defined as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while intoxicated. Whether a person is intoxicated can be proved in one of two ways:

  • The accused is found to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol level of .08 or more;
  • The accused’s normal use of mental or physical faculties was impaired due to consuming alcohol, drugs, or a controlled substance.

Misdemeanor DWI is broken into two categories: A and B. Class B Misdemeanors are less serious than Class A. First time DWI charges are generally Class A Misdemeanors, while a second DWI charge following a past DWI conviction is a Class B Misdemeanor. A Class A Misdemeanor carries a minimum jail term of 30 days, and a Class B’s minimum jail stay is 72 hours.

Felony DWI Under Texas Law

Felony DWI charges are less common, but much more serious. The DWI standard is the same – meaning the prosecutor must prove that person was inebriated while driving, but it turns into a felony in a few different situations. If you have been convicted of a DWI twice or more in the past, then you will be charged with a 3rd Degree Felony, the same goes for Intoxication Assault. If someone is killed in connection with a DWI charge, that could result in a charge of Intoxication Manslaughter, with a maximum sentence of up to 10 years. FInally, there is also a State Felony charge for DWI with Child.

As you can see, a felony DWI charge is more serious than a misdemeanor charge. But whether charged with misdemeanor or felony DWI, a conviction will have long lasting consequences.

Defending Charges Against You

At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm our team of dedicated professionals has the experience that your case deserves and requires. There are a number of different ways and strategies to fight DWI charges, but each starts with hiring the right legal team for the case. With each case that walks through our door we investigate the facts, apply the law, and work to ensure that our clients get the very best defense possible. If you have been charged with DWI in the Dallas area, contact us. Let us put our significant experience and ability to work for you.

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