Texas ranks high among those states with the strictest penalties for many crimes. Therefore, you may not be surprised to learn that the penalties for a conviction for driving while impaired can also be quite harsh.

Even a first-offense DWI conviction can result in thousands in fines and the potential for significant time in jail. If police recently arrested you under suspicion of drunk driving, you certainly have reason to be concerned about your future. However, other factors may be present that can increase the severity of the penalties you may be facing.

A bad situation can get even worse

A DWI offense is typically a misdemeanor. This is not to say that the charges are not serious, but the penalties for a misdemeanor usually include shorter jail time, if any. Nevertheless, there are circumstances that could lead to a felony charge for drunk driving. If any of the following factors existed at the time of your arrest, you may be dealing with felony charges that will likely carry enhanced penalties if a court convicts you:

  • You have previous DWI convictions on your record.
  • Blood or breath test results show your blood alcohol concentration was far above the .08 limit for Texas drivers.
  • You had children in your vehicle at the time of your arrest for DWI.
  • You were operating a motor vehicle while your license was already under suspension.
  • Your arrest for DWI occurred following an accident that resulted in the serious bodily injury or death of someone else, and police are holding you responsible for the accident.

The laws in every state are different, and they change frequently as safety advocates work to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents. Still, if a court convicts you of a felony related to drunk driving, you can expect to experience profound challenges in the future. A felony conviction can affect your career, your finances and your relationships for years to come.

When you are facing criminal charges that can jeopardize your future as completely as a felony DWI, you may benefit from aggressive legal representation. With the guidance of an advocate who will fight to protect your rights and to minimize the negative consequences you may be facing, you could have a better chance of getting your life back on track and looking forward to a more positive future.