DWI 3rd, Felony DWI

Felony DWI (with Priors). Texas law increases the seriousness of DWI cases for repeat arrests. If convicted of two prior DWIs, then the next arrest for DWI will be enhanced to a Third Degree Felony. This enhancement is a serious one, since it increases the punishment from regular county jail to prison -- up to 10 years in prison. Prosecutors may also be less willing to offer probation on a Felony DWI, especially if the person had problems on probation on the prior DWIs.

Be sure to read about License Suspensions as well, since there is an automatic suspension of your license at an ALR License Revocation Hearing. If suspended, Keates Law Firm can help get an Occupational License to allow for legal driving while the suspension runs its course.

You can read the specific Texas DWI Statute and Punishments for DWI below.

What You Need To Know

Felony DWI is just as complex as a Misdemeanor, but there are several legal items that must be done quickly to ensure that your rights are protected. The case is actually in the District Court, rather than the County court, which can sometimes allow for you attorney to set up a meeting with the Grand Jury Prosecutor. Such a meeting can be extremely useful in negotiating your case, depending on the facts. Although it's rare, a Felony DWI case can be reduced or even dismissed prior to presentation of the evidence to a Grand Jury.

The biggest issue for most people is both having a felony conviction as well as the potential of prison. As mentioned above, some prosecutors are not entirely on board with probation for felony DWI offenders. Luckily, Keates Law Firm has been successful many times in avoiding prison and negotiating reduction of charges. Other concerns for the accused include up to a two year license suspension, thousands of dollars per year in DPS surcharges, $125 Reinstatement Fee, the required Interlock Device in car, longer DWI Education classes, longer SR22 insurance requirements, and insurance rate increases.

DWI Conviction is for Life -- there is no Drop off period. That means If you were convicted of a DWI when you were 20 years old, and a second DWI at 60 years old, any DWI arrest in the future would be a felony.

Closely Related Offenses

There are several types of DWI in Texas. A First Time DWI is the most common, but if a person has a prior DWI, then the charge is more serious. A DWI Second Offense is a Class A Misdemeanor and carries more severe penalties. Likewise, having two DWI priors means the next arrest will be considered a Felony DWI.

A first time DWI where the person has a breath or blood result .015% or higher, will have the DWI upgraded to a more serious DWI offense, specifically an Enhanced DWI (Class A).

Lastly, if there is no alcohol involved, or a combination of alcohol and a narcotic, then a person could be charged with a Drug DWI. This is true even if a person is taking legal prescriptions.

If you're looking for other offenses that are related to this one, you can see more information below, or click related legal offenses.

Jail Release and Bond for Felony DWI

Individuals arrested for Felony DWI can often have trouble getting personal bonds quickly. Most Judge's will require both an Interlock Device and an Alcohol Ankle Monitor (SCRAM) to get out of jail.

Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.

Sometimes an officer will file arrest warrant, which will require a Walkthrough to clear the Arrest Warrant. Doing a Walkthrough quickly is important, because most of the time a person does not go into the jail during the surrender process. Call us for more details if you have an Active Travis County Arrest Warrant.

Defenses for Felony DWI

While a felony DWI case itself is almost identical to the type of defenses on a DWI, there are a few twists. Prosecutors must prove the priors are valid, actual final convictions. That can prove difficult, especially if the prior DWI is from out of state or another County in Texas.

There are a variety of defenses and arguments for Felony DWI, depending on the facts -- from motion to suppress the traffic stop, to contesting the blood or breath results. An important part of a DWI case in Austin is the patrol car video (or body camera), and the blood/breath test results. Those two items typically dictate whether a DWI case will be dismissed or reduced -- or set for Jury Trial.

Topics of interest include DWI Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and also DWI Breath and Blood Tests.

If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.

Work with an Experienced DWI Attorney

Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling DWI cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.

Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.

How We Can Help

The focus on a Felony DWI should be getting it either reduced to a misdemeanor, or a non-DWI offense instead of a Driving While Intoxicated. A Dismissal will allow a person to later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.

Dismissal is not always a realistic possibility, but there are alternatives, such as a reduced charge or a short probation that would allow for Sealing DWI Convictions later.

Keates Law Firm has a track record of reductions and dismissals for DWI. The main hurdle is convincing the prosecutor to agree to reduce or dismiss the DWI case, and Keates Law Firm has experience in Austin's Travis County courts doing just that.

Benefits of Working with Keates Law Firm:

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The Law in Texas on DWI with Priors


(a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), an offense under Section 49.04, 49.05, 49.06, or 49.065 is a Class A misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 30 days, if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the person has previously been convicted one time of an offense relating to the operating of a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Penalties for DWI
Level of Offense Punishment
Class C Misdemeanor Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines
Class B Misdemeanor Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines
Class A Misdemeanor Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines
3rd Degree Felony 2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines

What Our Clients are Saying

"He was more than prepared and encouraged going to trial on the DWI. Robert has truly surpassed all expectations and I highly recommend his services!" -Laura W.
"DWI dismissed. Paid $75 for a reduced traffic ticket, and was done! No jail, no probation, no community service. I absolutely recommend Robert. -Jonathan P.

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