Austin Felony DWI Lawyer
Is DWI a Felony in Texas?
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is treated as a very serious offense in Texas. While a first and second-time DWI is typically a misdemeanor, there are many cases in which you can face a felony DWI in Texas, even if it’s your first DWI offense. An otherwise misdemeanor DWI can be elevated to a felony depending on additional factors.
Felony charges are a serious legal matter, as they can lead to severe life-altering consequences such as imprisonment, costly fines, and mandatory community service. If you are facing felony DWI charges in or around Austin, it is strongly advised that you take immediate action to defend your rights and protect your future by hiring a knowledgeable and experienced Austin felony DWI attorney.
At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, our Austin felony DWI defense lawyers have ample experience in handling felony DWI cases. We understand the complexities of Texas DWI laws, and we know precisely which legal methods work best when building an ironclad defense. Our Austin DWI defense team includes former prosecutors who have a thorough grip on how the state will work against you in search of a conviction and can use that insight to fight back. From the start of your case until its conclusion, we will be with you every step of the way, from discussing your situation after an arrest to dealing with your administrative hearing and court appearances.
Arrested? Call us at (512) 359-3743 to schedule a free case evaluation with an Austin felony DWI lawyer today. Available 24/7.
3rd DWI in Texas (Third-Degree Felony)
If you are charged with a Texas DWI as a first or second offense within the last 10 years, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. The most common type of felony DWI in Texas is a DWI 3rd Offense. If you have two prior DWI convictions, a third offense will be charged as a felony under state law. In the past, a third DWI would be charged as a Class B Misdemeanor and treated as a first offense if at least 10 years had passed since the date of the last DWI, but this is no longer the case. Today, any prior DWIs can be used to enhance a new charge.
If you are convicted of a 3rd Offense DWI, you can face a prison sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
A third DWI within 10 years in Texas will generally be charged as a third-degree felony carrying the following potential penalties:
- A state prison term of from 2 to up to 10 years
- Fines of up to $10,000 plus additional costs and fees
- Up to 600 hours of community service
- Ignition interlock device to be installed and maintained in your vehicle at your expense
- A driver’s license suspension of up to 2 years
- Substance abuse treatment and/or program
- Attendance at a DWI Impact Panel in which victims relate their stories of loss due to drunk drivers
In a subsequent DWI (fourth within 10 years), you may be charged with a second-degree felony punishable by 25 years up to life in prison, up to $10,000 in fines plus court costs, and a 2-year driver’s license suspension.
Once convicted, you will likely face a future with the stigma of a felony as well as a DWI record. Your permanent criminal record will be accessible on a routine background check that can make future employment, housing, qualification for professional licenses, or education aid difficult to obtain. If you are a non-citizen, you may face immigration consequences.
Intoxication Assault in Texas (Third-Degree Felony)
Intoxication Assault is basically a DWI but there is an additional element: the defendant by mistake or by reason of intoxication caused serious bodily harm to someone else. No prior convictions are required for a DWI to be elevated to a felony Intoxication Assault.
DWI Intoxication Assault is a Third Degree felony in most cases, although there are a few exceptions. This charge is a Second Degree felony if:
- The accident caused brain damage or left someone in a vegetative state
- The accident involved a peace officer
There are possible defenses to a charge of Intoxication Assault, including that the defendant was not intoxicated, the injury is not considered “serious bodily injury” under the law, or that the intoxication did not result in the accident or injury.
Intoxication assault is punishable by:
- 2 to 10 years in prison,
- Up to $10,000 in fines, and
- Driver’s license suspension of 180 days to up to 2 years
Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas (Second-Degree Felony)
Intoxication Manslaughter is similar to Intoxication Assault except the intoxication led to death instead of serious bodily injury. If your intoxicated driving results in the death of another person, you will face a second-degree felony known as intoxication manslaughter. The other person can be another driver, passenger, or pedestrian. The death does not have to occur instantly.
Penalties for intoxication manslaughter include:
- 2 to 20 years in prison,
- up to $10,000 in fines, and
- Driver’s license suspension of 180 days to up to 2 years
Texas law allows for the “stacking” of punishments for both Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault. This means that if there was more than one victim, multiple counts can be charged and the punishments can be added together to run consecutively. This is very different than most felony punishments in Texas that run concurrently, or together.
DWI With Child Passenger in Texas (State Jail Felony)
A DWI with Child Passenger is a unique charge under the Texas Penal Code. Under this statute, even a first-time DWI will be elevated to a State Jail Felony if a child under 15 was in the vehicle. If a child was in the vehicle at the time of the DWI, it does not matter if the driver had no prior convictions.
The penalties for this offense are similar to those of second-degree felony charges, however, a State Jail Felony faces a possible punishment of 180 days to 2 years in jail and a fine of uap to $10,000.
Defending Against DWI Charges in Texas
Being charged with a DWI in Texas can have serious consequences, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense attorneys understand the intricacies of DWI law in Texas and are committed to protecting your rights and future.
We offer a range of DWI defense services, including:
- Investigating the circumstances of your arrest
- Challenging the validity of field sobriety and breathalyzer tests
- Negotiating plea bargains and reduced charges
- Representing you at trial
Our team will work closely with you to develop a personalized defense strategy tailored to your specific case. We understand that being charged with a DWI can be stressful and overwhelming, but we are here to help guide you through the legal process and fight for the best possible outcome.
Why You Need Smith & Vinson Law Firm
DWI charges can do more than just put you in jail. They can disrupt your professional life, cost you a fortune in fines, seriously harm your personal relationships, and haunt you long into the future. At our firm, we understand what is at stake, and we will work toward a favorable outcome in your case, such as getting charges dropped or minimized or a sentence reduced. With our thorough understanding of DWI law and a drive to provide outstanding legal service, your case will be in fighting hands. Our Austin felony DWI attorneys represent individuals from Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, and the surrounding areas.
Smith and Vinson are absolutely incredible! They go above and beyond to help their clients and have a track record of success in getting cases dismissed. Their aggressive approach and unwavering dedication make them stand out from the rest.- Linda W.
What sets this firm apart is their unwavering dedication to their clients. They listen attentively, provide clear guidance, and approach every case with the utmost diligence. Their attention to detail is truly impressive, and they leave no stone unturned.- Former Client
When in battle you need people by your side who are fierce enough to face the opposition with you. Brad and Jarod far exceeded my expectations with their passion for winning and attention to detail.- Nikki C.
After the Jury was selected, the first witness was called to the stand, and Brad and Jarrod imploded the State's case. Moments later, the case was dismissed. I couldn't be any more thankful for Smith & Vinson.- Former Client
Case Dismissed 2nd DWI
Our client was involved in a vehicle accident in La Grange where she was ejected from the vehicle and had to stay in the hospital. There was alcohol in the car, and she had prior DWIs. The ethanol levels in her blood came back at a .13 so she was charged with Driving While Intoxicated. This client was unaware that she was charged after she left the hospital which resulted in the charge of Bail Jumping. However she maintained that she had only an 8% functioning liver due and upon researching her medical hist
Charges Dismissed Sexual Assault
Our client met a woman on a dating app who claimed that she was sexually assaulted. We assisted our client in interviewing with the police. He was facing up to 20 years in prison and lifetime sex offender registration. After Smith and Vinson's thorough review of the case and careful negotiations, the case against him was dismissed by the District Attorney's Office.
No Charges Filed Sexual Assault Investigation
Our client was a UT student who was accused of sexual assault. He came to our firm extremely scared about his future both with the university and within the criminal justice system. With our firm's help, he was able to show that his accuser was not credible. Smith and Vinson put together a defense that law enforcement recognized as credible evidence of his innocence and not to file charges which changed the course of our client's life.
Not Guilty DWI .17 Blood Result
A soldier on base at Fort Hood hit a parked car in the parking lot of his barracks while attempting to back into a parking space. A bystander called 911, believing the driver to be drunk. Military Police investigated the incident and performed field sobriety tests. The soldier was arrested for DWI and his blood was drawn for analysis. The lab results came back, showing an alleged blood alcohol content of 0.178.
Case Dismissed Intoxication Assault
Our client had allegedly been drinking with friends after work. He woke up in the hospital after an accident that severely injured another person. We fought for our client in our negotiations with the prosecutor on his felony Intoxicated Assault charge and worked with the injured party’s insurance company on a plan to compensate her for her injuries. The felony was ultimately dismissed and reduced to a misdemeanor DWI charge.