By Law Office of A. Oliver Hassibi

June 29, 2018

Texas has a major problem with driving while intoxicated (DWI), whether drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both. So, as a big state with a big DWI problem, a lot of people wonder if the state is tough on drunk and drugged driving. In fact, people often ask me, “Is DWI a misdemeanor or a felony in Texas?”

Considering how hard Texas is on crime, it’s no wonder why people worry that they’ll be convicted of a felony when facing DWI charges. The answer to the question is that DWI can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case.

The majority of first-time DWIs in Texas are prosecuted as misdemeanors unless the impaired driver: 1) caused serious bodily injury to another person, or 2) took another person’s life as a result of drunk or drugged driving.

Felony DWI in Fort Worth, Texas

Whether you’re in Dallas, Fort Worth, or San Antonio, the DWI laws are the same. A DWI becomes a felony under the following circumstances:

  • It is your third DWI offense. A third DWI is punishable by a $10,000 fine, up to 10 years in prison, up to two-year driver license suspension, and an annual fee up to $2,000 to keep your driver license.
  • You seriously injured someone. This felony DWI is called “intoxication assault” under Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code.
  • You killed another person. This felony DWI offense is known as “intoxication manslaughter” under Section 49.08 of the Texas Penal Code.

Note: DWI with a child passenger under the age of 15 is called “child endangerment.” If you are found guilty of DWI with a child passenger, you face up to a $10,000 fine, up to two years in a state jail, and a 180-day driver license suspension.