Fort Worth Felony DWI Lawyer
Most people are aware that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not allowed in Fort Worth. However, you may not realize that the police can charge you with a felony for DWI under certain circumstances. If the government suspects you of driving while intoxicated, you may wish to seek out an experienced criminal defense attorney, especially if your charge is advanced from a misdemeanor to a felony. A felony conviction may affect your rights in numerous ways, including your ability to get a job, but a Fort Worth felony DWI lawyer may still be able to help you pursue a positive resolution. Contact a reliable DWI attorney and start building a credible legal defense.
What Makes DWI a Felony?
The State of Texas described prohibited acts related to driving while intoxicated in Texas Penal Code Chapter 49. According to TPC §49.01, “intoxicated” means either that alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, or any combination of these affected a person mentally or physically, so that they did not have the normal use of their mental or physical faculties, or that a person has a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
Usually, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a class B misdemeanor under TPC §49.04, or a class A misdemeanor if the driver in question has a BAC of 0.15 or higher. However, certain scenarios and extenuating circumstances can turn this charge into a felony offense, as an experienced Fort Worth felony DWI attorney could explain.
DWI with Child Passenger
Under TPC §40.045, if the police arrest someone for DWI who was operating a vehicle containing a passenger under the age of 15, the ensuing charge would be a state jail felony. A person charged with such an offense should consult with a skilled Fort Worth felony DWI lawyer before speaking with law enforcement.
Assault and/or Manslaughter
If a driver harms someone during an act of DWI, the police may charge that person with a third-degree felony as per TPC §49.07. Furthermore, it is a second-degree felony under TPC §49.08 for a person to operate a vehicle in a public place while intoxicated and, while doing so, unintentionally cause the death of another person.
Enhanced Sentencing for DWI
TPC §49.09 provides various justifications for enhanced DWI sentencing in some cases. If someone has a previous conviction for DWI manslaughter, the court may impose a third-degree felony charge for any subsequent act of DWI. The court may impose the same punishment if the court previously convicted the driver of two acts of driving while under the influence.
If an intoxicated driver causes bodily harm to a firefighter or other emergency response personnel while that person is working, the court can increase their charge to a second-degree felony. If the person injured was a peace officer or judge who was on duty, that person may face a first-degree felony charge.
If the driver in question killed any of the aforementioned persons, they would likewise face first-degree felony charges. Finally, if the intoxicated driver caused another person to go into a persistent vegetative state, the court may also charge that person with a second-degree felony.
Possible Sentences for a Felony DWI
Generally speaking, all felony convictions in Texas are punished in accordance with the same standards. For a third-degree felony, the court may punish a convicted person with two to 10 years in prison and order that person to pay a $10,000 fine. The fines associated with second and first-degree felonies are the same as that for a third-degree felony, but potential prison sentences increase to between two and 20 years and between five and 99 years or life.
Finally, a state jail felony is the mildest form of a felony charge in Texas and is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 180 days to two years and—once again—a fine of up to $10,000. A felony DWI lawyer in Fort Worth could analyze the circumstances of a plaintiff’s case and determine what punishments they may face.
Reaching Out to a Fort Worth Felony DWI Attorney
If the police have accused you of driving while intoxicated, consider speaking with a legal representative as soon as possible. If the charge is a felony, your rights may be affected, and you may also suffer from a permanent black mark on your record. A Fort Worth felony DWI lawyer may be able to help you minimize or avoid certain consequences related to a charge, but it is often vital to enlist an attorney’s services early in the process in order to achieve an optimal result. To get started on your case, call today to schedule a consultation.