Galveston County police are stepping up their efforts to arrest drivers for driving while intoxicated (DWI). In June, police in that county arrested a dozen people on felony-level DWI charges.
Any DWI charge — even your first offense — is a serious concern. However, there’s a big difference between a misdemeanor DWI and a felony. The felony charge is much more severe and has more extreme consequences.
Typically, a first or second DWI offense with no aggravating factors is a misdemeanor offense. So, what can get you charged with a felony instead?
Of the 12 arrests mentioned above, four of the suspects had a minor child in the car when they were arrested. In Texas, having a child in the car when you are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can net you a two-year prison term, a $10,000 fine and a 180-day suspension of your license.
While the article didn’t specify what caused the other drivers to be charged with felonies, most were likely on their third (or higher) DWI charge — which is automatically a 3rd degree felony. 3rd degree felonies carry a punishment of up to ten years in prison.
If you’ve been charged with a DWI — whether as a misdemeanor or felony — keep in mind that the long-term consequences are severe if you’re convicted. It’s well worth a consultation with an experienced defense attorney to see what your options may be.