Is A DWI A Criminal Charge

Is A DWI A Criminal Charge?

Most DWI and DUIs (driving while under the influence) charges in Texas will be misdemeanor criminal offenses. However, it is possible to have felony charges brought against you for your drunk driving arrest. Most often, a felony DWI/DUI occurs if the driver has been previously convicted of 2 other misdemeanor DWIs.

There are other, less common, circumstances that felony charges can be brought against a driver listed below:

Intoxication Assault: If you injure another motor vehicle driver or a pedestrian while driving intoxicated, you will be charged with a third-degree felony. This is the case regardless of your criminal history leading up to this charge. Intoxication assault is punishable by the following:

  • Fines up to $10,000
  • 2-10 years of state imprisonment

If you have been charged with intoxication assault, working with an experienced DWI law firm can help you to come up with a strong criminal defense to protect you from getting the most severe sentencing. Our team will work with you to prove your intoxication was not the direct cause of injury to the victim. Call us today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can work with you to get the best results in your case.

Intoxication Manslaughter: If a passenger, pedestrian, or other driver loses their life in an accident with you while you are driving intoxicated you may face intoxication manslaughter charges. This is a very serious charge that will need to be handled delicately. When the unimaginable happens, make sure you are working with an attorney who wants the best outcome for you. Attorney Lanease Fuller has more than three decades of experience defending her clients from criminal charges, contact our law firm today. Intoxication manslaughter is punishable by the following:2-

  • 20 years of state imprisonment
  • Fines up to $10,000

For intoxication manslaughter charges to stick, evidence that the element of intoxication was the actual cause of the death of another is required. Failure to prove this so will result in a not guilty verdict if your case goes to a jury trial. Our team is prepared to go to trial to protect you and keep you out of jail. Contact us right away to build a case and secure your future.

DWI with Child Passenger: If you are driving under the influence with a passenger under the age of 15 when you are arrested, you will be charged with a DWI with child passenger. Under Texas law, DWI with child passenger is the same as a misdemeanor DWI except that a child is in the car at the time of the arrest. DWI with child passenger is considered a State Jail Felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to $10,000 in fines
  • 180 days – two years of jail time


Third or More DWI Offense: A driver’s third DWI offense is taken much more seriously than prior DWI charges. A third DWI is charged as a third-degree felony, and is punishable by:

  • Fines up to $10,000
  • State imprisonment for 2-10 years


First and second DWI offenses are generally charged as misdemeanors.

However, the presence of an excessively high blood alcohol content, can elevate these charges to felony-level offenses in some cases.

First DWI – Driving While Intoxicated

A first DWI offense without any aggravating factors is charged as a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • 3-180 days of jail time
  • Fines up to $2,000

Second DWI – Driving While Intoxicated Misdemeanor Repetition

A second DWI offense without any aggravating factors is charged as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by:

  • 30-365 days of jail time
  • Fines up to $4,000

If you are facing a DWI conviction, working with an experienced attorney can help you to navigate these charges and minimize the consequences of your criminal charges. DWI cases should be taken seriously, the state is looking at you as a quasi criminal and will do everything they can to throw the book at you. Contact us to learn more about your options following a DWI/DUI charge in Texas.


DWI Attorney in Houston

Attorney Fuller is a seasoned attorney with nearly three decades of experience representing a wide range of clients. This includes individuals who have suffered an injury due to another’s actions, individuals facing criminal charges, those who have been arrested for DWI, individuals who have found themselves in a civil litigation dispute, and those looking for legal guidance in business.

After filling out a client intake form, Attorney Lanease D. Fuller will take appropriate action in your case to help you get the results you are looking for. This includes but not limited to gathering evidence, going to trial, and earning a settlement that is appropriate for your specific situation. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards settling your case.


4615 S. Frwy St. 820
Houston, TX 77051
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