When Does a DWI Become a Felony?

When Does a DWI Become a Felony?

Charlie explains the different scenarios where a DWI can become a felony in Texas, and what the difference in punishments could be for a felony charge.


Q: What constitutes a third-degree felony DWI in Texas?

A: In Texas, a third-degree felony DWI occurs when there are two prior DWI convictions.

Q: What is the difference between a state jail felony DWI and a third-degree felony DWI?

A: A state jail felony DWI involves a DWI with a child passenger, which is different from a third-degree felony DWI that involves two prior convictions.

Q: Can you explain the typical scenario leading to a third-degree felony DWI?

A: Typically, this involves an initial arrest and conviction for DWI, followed by a second arrest and conviction, with the third arrest then constituting a felony.

Q: What happens if a DWI case is dismissed? Does it count towards a felony?

A: If a DWI case is dismissed, it does not count towards the two prior convictions needed for a third-degree felony. In such a case, the next arrest would still be considered a misdemeanor.

Q: How does a third-degree felony DWI occur if there's a dismissal in the record?

A: If there's a dismissal, the following sequence would lead to a third-degree felony: a first misdemeanor arrest and conviction, a second misdemeanor arrest and conviction, and then a third arrest, which, despite being the fourth technically, would be a felony due to the two prior convictions.

Q: What is the scenario of multiple pending DWI cases?

A: If someone has a prior DWI conviction and then faces multiple pending DWI cases, the subsequent cases are still considered misdemeanors until a second conviction is obtained, after which the next case could be elevated to a felony.

Q: What are the possible outcomes of a felony DWI conviction in Texas?

A: Possible outcomes include 2-10 years in prison, 2-10 years of probation, reduction to a misdemeanor depending on the case facts, a jury trial, or dismissal if the prosecution deems it appropriate.

Q: Can a felony DWI ever be reduced to a misdemeanor?

A: Yes, depending on the facts of the case and the prosecutor's discretion, a felony DWI can be reduced to a misdemeanor.