Most states consider a DUI or DWI to be a misdemeanor penalty which cannot put a convicted person behind bars for more than a year. Some situations will upgrade a DWI to a felony charge which has very serious ramifications.
One reason a misdemeanor DWI charge may be enhanced is if a person has a much higher blood alcohol content (BAC) than is allowed by law. In any case, your third DWI is considered a felony in Texas. Normally, drivers with a BAC of .08% or higher will be charged with misdemeanor DWI for a first drunk driving offense. An even higher BAC or around 0.16%, however, can make your crime an automatic felony.
Enhanced Punishments for Felony DWI
Driving while intoxicated and having a child less than 15 years old in the car at the same time is a felony resulting in up to 2 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. You can also be charged with felony DWI if your drunk driving caused an accident in which another person suffered serious bodily harm. This is known as intoxication assault, and is a third degree felony resulting in up to 10 years in jail and a similar fine. You will also be mandated no less than 160 hours of community service.
Intoxication manslaughter is causing the death of another person by negligently driving while intoxicated. A conviction can bring up to 20 years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Punishments can be "stacked" for intoxicated manslaughter in that if there are multiple victims, punishments can be compounded.
With so much on the line, you need a DWI attorney if you are charged with felony DWI since. Deandra M. Grant can argue on your behalf to avoid such steep punishments.