Felony DWI


The majority of DWI charges are filed as misdemeanors. However, certain DWI cases can be filed as felonies.  Felonies always carry harsher penalties and are more serious in nature.

The main offenses where a DWI charge can be filed as a felony, rather than a misdemeanor, is where there are 2 (or more) prior convictions for DWI, where the DWI occurrs with a child passenger in the vehicle, or where an accident resulted in serious bodily injury (Intoxication Assault) or death (Intoxication Manslaughter). Texas law does not provide for any increased punishment after a 3rd DWI conviction offense, however.

If a person is arrested for a 3rd DWI or more, the range of punishment consists of possible confinement in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) for a period not less than 2 years, but no more than 10 years.  However, probation can be granted if the sitation and the facts permit. If you are faced with any felony DWI charge, you need an experienced DWI Defense attorney that will analyze all factual issues involved with your case

1) DWI 3rd Conviction (or More)3rd Degree Felony

Punishments for DWI 3rd (or More):

  •  A Fine Not To Exceed $10,000;
  •  2 years minimum up to 10 years maximum in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC);
  •  If probation is granted, a minimum of 10 days in jail as a condition of probation;
  •  Community Service: Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 160 hours nor more than 600 hours.

2) Driving While Intoxicated With Child Passenger – State Jail Felony

A person commits a State Jail Felony of Driving While Intoxicated if there is another person in the vehicle under 15 years of age.

Texas Penal Code  Section §49.045: DWI With Child Passenger

(a) A person commits an offense if:

(1) the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place; and
(2) the vehicle being operated by the person is occupied by a passenger who is younger than 15 years of age.
(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.

Punishment for DWI with Child Passenger:

  • A Fine Not To Exceed $10,000; 
  •  Punishment for a non-enhanced State jail felony is by confinement in a State jail for a term not less than 180 days and not to exceed 2 years;
  •  Participate in substance abuse/alcohol programs whether they be in-patient or out-patient.

3) Intoxication Assault - 3rd Degree Felony

An Intoxication Assault charge is a DWI where an accident resulted in the serious bodily injury of another. The accident must have occurred as a proximate cause of the intoxication.

Punishment for Intoxication Assault:
  •  A Fine Not To Exceed $10,000;
  •  2 years minimum up to ten years maximum in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC);
  •  If probation is granted, a minimum of 30 days in jail as a condition; 
  •  160-600 hours of community service;
  •  Participate in substance abuse/alcohol programs whether they be in-patient or out-patient. 

4) Intoxication Manslaughter: 2nd Degree Felony

An Intoxication Manslaughter charge is a DWI where an accident has resulted in the death of another.  Just as with Intoxication Assault cases, the accident must have occured as a proximate cause of the intoxication.

Punishment for Intoxication Manslaughter:

  •  A Fine Not To Exceed $10,000;
  •  2 years minimum up to 20 years maximum in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDC);
  •  If probation is granted, a minimum of 120 days in jail as a condition of probation;
  •  240-800 hours of community service • Participate in substance abuse/alcohol programs whether they be in-patient or out-patient.

Penalties for Repeat & Habitual Felony Offenders

Texas Penal Code Section 12.42 states that punishment can be enhanced where the state shows prior felony convictions other than DWI's.  For example, if it shown on the trial of a state jail felony that the defendant has previously been convicted of two state jail felonies, with the second subsequent to the first conviction, the defendant will be punished as if a third degree felony was committed.

A main component to Section 12.42(d), also, is that at the other end of the range of punishment is that a defendant with 3 DWI convictions (the third being a 3rd degree Felony) and another two felonies (such as assault, robbery, etc.) can be sentenced to life in prison or 25 to 99 years, a First Degree Felony.

Deadly Weapon Finding

If you are convicted of Intoxication Assault or Intoxication Manslaughter and the judge or jury finds that you committed the offense with a "Deadly Weapon", you may be ineligible to receive probation.  Offenses where the state alleges the finding of a "Deadly Weapon" are extremely dangerous charges because they are known as a "3G" offenses.  This means it is one of the few offenses that Texas law statutorily prohibits the judge from granting probation if you are convicted following a jury trial.  Under Texas law, a "deadly weapon" finding prevents a person who has been sentenced to prison from accumulating any good time credit toward an early release for parole until they have actually served one-half of their sentence.

Both Intoxication Manslaughter and Intoxication Assault cases enhanced with a "deadly weapon" finding would both be classified as 2nd Degree Felonies.

A vehicle can found to have been a "deadly weapon" where an alcohol-related accident results in a death, or where a death could have occurred by the manner of driving by the defendant.  The Texas Courts have held that intoxicated drivers who are involved in accidents where a death has occurred can be found to have used their vehicles as "deadly weapons."  Moreover, the Texas Courts have also held that in an Intoxicated Assault case (where death did not occur), depending upon how the vehicle was driven, a "deadly weapon" finding may also be proper.

Contact Now

Contact the Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, if you have been charged with a Felony DWI. Carl handles Driving While Intoxicated cases anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and in Central Texas. Please call 214.702.CARL (2275) or 512.657.9992 for a free consultation on what your defenses are in fighting your Felony DWI case.

Counties Served :

The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder, PLLC, is a full-service criminal defense law firm.  Carl David Ceder is an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney, DWI Defense Attorney, and Personal Injury Lawyer who practices all over Texas, including Dallas and all of Dallas County, Plano and all of Collin County, Ellis County, Rockwall County, Denton County, Fort Worth and all of Tarrant County, Austin and all of Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County, and all adjoining counties:

Dallas Criminal Attorney - Dallas, Addison, Cedar Hill, Carrollton, Cockrell Hill, Coppell, DeSoto, Duncanville, Garland, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Highland Park, Irving, Lancaster, Lewisville, Mesquite, Richardson, Seagoville, University Park, Wilmer, Wylie

Collin County Criminal Attorney - Plano, McKinney, Carrollton, Celina, Dallas, Fairview, Frisco, Garland, Lucas, Melissa, Murphy, Nevada, New Hope, Prosper, Richardson, St. Paul, Westminster, Weston, Wylie

Denton County Criminal Attorney - Dallas, Argyle, Aubrey, Bartonville, Carollton, Coppell, Corinth, Denton, Flower Mound, Fort Worth, Hebron, Highland Village, Justin, Lake Dallas, Lakewood Village, Lewisville, Northlake, Plano, Prosper, Southlake, The Colony, Westlake

Tarrant County Criminal Attorney - Fort Worth, Arlington, Bedford, Burleson, Colleyville, Crowley, Euless, Everman, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Grand Prairie, Hurst, Keller, Lakeside, Mansfield, North Richland Hills, River Oaks, Saginaw, Southlake, Westlake

Rockwall County Criminal Attorney - Rockwall, Dallas, Fate, Heath, Mobile City, McLendon-Chisholm, Rowlett, Royse City, Wylie, Munson, Blackland

Travis County Criminal Attorney - Austin, Bee Caves, Briarcliff, Creedmoor, Del Valle, Jonestown, Lago Vista, Lake Travis, Lakeway, Manchaca, Manor, McNeil, Oak Hill, Pflugerville, Spicewood, Sunset Valley, Westlake Hills

Williamson County Criminal Attorney - Georgetown, Andice, Cedar Park, Coupland, Florence, Granger, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Schwertner, Taylor, Thrall, Walburg, Weir

Areas of Practice

  • Criminal Defense
  • Personal Injury
  • Drug Charges
  • Assault Charges
  • All Assault Charges
  • Assault Bodily Injury
  • Domestic Violence
  • Assault Family Violence
  • Protective Order Hearings
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Manslaughter
  • Involuntary Manslaughter
  • Sex Offenses
  • All Sexual Cases
  • Sexual Assault
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault
  • Rape
  • Date Rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Prostitution
  • Solicitation of a Prostitute
  • Child Pornography
  • Internet Charges
  • Solicitation of a Minor
  • Indecency with a Child
  • Indecent Exposure
  • Lewd Conduct
  • White Collar Crimes
  • All White Collar Crimes
  • Federal & State Cases
  • Fraud
  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Mortgage Fraud
  • Computer Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Extortion
  • Money Laundering
  • Insider Trading
  • Misapplying Property
  • Counterfeiting
  • Racketeering
  • Tax Evasion
  • Embezzlement