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Multiple DWI Convictions Can Add Up to Longer Prison SentencesA Texas man was recently sentenced to 65 years in prison after his ninth conviction for driving while intoxicated. The defendant was charged following a single-car accident, during which he allegedly had a 0.263 blood alcohol concentration. While this may seem like severe punishment for an incident in which no one was harmed, it is not unusual in Texas. Courts have issued life sentences to offenders who had a history of repeated DWI convictions. Judges usually rationalize the harsh sentences by describing the defendant as a habitual offender who has shown that they will not change their behavior and will continue to be a danger to others. Being convicted for multiple DWI offenses not only enables courts to issue more severe punishments but may also motivate a judge to utilize the full extent of those punishments.

Consequences of Multiple Convictions

One way that a DWI conviction can be a felony in Texas is if it is your third DWI conviction. According to Texas law:

  • A third or subsequent DWI conviction is a third-degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison.
  • If you have previously served prison time for a DWI conviction, a third or subsequent DWI conviction is a second-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.
  • If you have been incarcerated twice for DWI convictions, a subsequent DWI conviction can result in 25 years to life in prison.

Even with a two-year-minimum prison sentence, it is possible to serve most of that time as probation. However, a court is less likely to allow probation if you have received a fourth DWI conviction or have other aggravating factors.

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Posted on in DWI / DUI

Child Passenger Makes DWI Offense a FelonyThere are several aggravating factors in driving while intoxicated cases that can lead to harsher penalties if convicted. Child endangerment is one of the most serious factors because it involves your responsibility to protect the children in your vehicle. A DWI charge that is normally a misdemeanor becomes a felony when children are involved. Beyond criminal ramifications, your fitness as a parent will come into question. DWI with a child passenger is a serious offense that can disrupt your family if not successfully contested.

Arrest Standards

A passenger qualifies as a child in a DWI case if he or she is younger than 15. A child only needs to be present in the vehicle during your suspected DWI incident in order for a DWI with child passenger charge to be filed. If the child was injured during the incident, that may result in a separate charge of intoxication assault with serious bodily injury. When a child is involved in a DWI incident, Texas law states that the officer must take a blood or breath test to determine your blood alcohol content. DWI lawyers advise that you refuse the test because of the incriminating evidence it can provide. However, refusing the test may result in additional charges. An officer can legally compel you to submit to a test only if he or she first produces a warrant. A warrantless test is unconstitutional in most cases, and the result from the test may be dismissed in court.

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