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School bus could be considered a deadly weapon in DWI case

A Harris County school bus driver could be facing extraordinary charges related to driving while intoxicated (DWI) after driving so erratically that she nearly flipped her bus over on the road.

A 911 caller alerted the police to the 55-year-old female bus driver's dangerous driving just after she had dropped off the last of her students to a prep school. Police caught up with her near Aldine Westfield Road and Hirschfield Road around 2:15 in the afternoon on May 30.

The deputies directed her to pull over at a parking lot by a local CVS pharmacy. Deputies then performed a field sobriety test on the driver and report that she "flunked miserably."

The driver tried to blame her erratic driving on a doughnut. She claimed that she'd eaten one recently, and it made her feel ill. Just the same, she was initially charged with a misdemeanor DWI -- although that charge was later enhanced to a felony because of the evidence that she was actually impaired while she still had children on the bus.

Blood toxicology tests that were performed after the initial arrest indicate that she actually had a significant number of controlled substances in her system. Now, prosecutors are contemplating enhancing the charges even further -- it's possible they may classify the bus that she was driving as a deadly weapon. While she currently faces two years in jail and a $10,000 fine, the penalty could increase to 10 years in jail if the prosecutor's bid is successful.

It isn't unusual for prosecutors to aim for the highest charges possible in a DWI case. That gives them more leverage against a defendant to try to force a plea bargain -- which can avoid the time and expense of a trial (and result in an automatic win for the prosecutor). If you've been charged with a felony DWI, it's important to find out as much as you can about your legal options and obtain a realistic view of your case.

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