If you were charged with DWI in Texas, you could be facing severe penalties. And if there are any aggravating factors involved, you have a lot more to lose, because the penalties get even harsher. But what is an aggravated DWI, and what can you do to fight the charges against you?
What Is the Difference Between DWI and Aggravated DWI?
A standard DWI charge in Texas means that you were operating a vehicle on a public road with impaired physical and mental capacities due to alcohol or another controlled substance. To convict you, the prosecution must prove that your BAC was 0.08% or more.
An aggravated DWI in Texas, however, means that special circumstances existed on top of the standard DWI charges. The most common factors that will give rise to aggravated DWI include:
- BAC of 0.15% or higher;
- Prior DWI conviction;
- Open container or child in your car at the time you were pulled over for drunk driving; and
- Causing an accident while driving drunk that results in serious injury or death.
What Are the Penalties for Aggravated DWI?
A first-time DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you could go to jail for up to 180 days. You will also be fined up to $2000 and have your driver’s license suspended for up to one year.
Aggravated DWI increases the penalties you will be facing. The severity of punishment depends on the type of aggravating factor that led to the charge:
- DWI where your BAC was 0.15% or more is charged as a Class A misdemeanor. The same goes for a second DWI conviction. This misdemeanor carries maximum jail time of one year and a fine not to exceed $4,000.
- Two prior DWI convictions will be charged as a felony with more serious penalties. This severity in treatment is meant to punish offenders who should have learned their lesson already.
- If the police find an open alcohol container in your car when they pull you over, this will result in six days of mandatory jail time.
- If you have a child under 15 years in your car when you’re pulled over, you will face felony charges. A conviction could result in up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If you cause an accident while driving drunk that results in serious injury, you will face a third-degree felony charge. This carries up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- If you kill someone as a result of an accident while driving drunk, you’ve committed a second-degree felony. This carries sentence of up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Talk to a Fort Worth TX Criminal Defense Attorney Today
An aggravated DWI in Texas is a serious matter with grave consequences. It’s crucial that you speak with an experienced DWI lawyer who can help you build a solid defense. At Hoeller & McLaughlin, PLLC we can help you understand your options and protect your rights. Contact us today.