What are Enhanced Offenses for a Texas DWI?
The majority of people who get a DWI will be charged with a misdemeanor. However, there are circumstances that can elevate that charge to a felony. DWI penalties that come from this can be life-changing. Simply put, even a first-time DWI that would normally get you fines, probation and an ignition interlock on your car could send you to prison for a lengthy term if you are charged with enhanced offenses for a Texas DWI.
The enhanced offenses below apply to the following “while intoxicated” cases:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Boating while intoxicated (BWI)
- Flying while intoxicated (FWI)
- Operating / assembling an amusement ride while intoxicated
There are several ways you can be charged with enhanced offenses for a Texas DWI
A prior conviction for any of the “while intoxicated” scenarios will increase your charge from Class B misdemeanor to Class A misdemeanor. If the current charge is your third or subsequent charge, then the classification increases to a 3rd degree felony.
BAC of 0.15 or Higher
If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is .15 or more, you increase your charge from Class B misdemeanor to Class A misdemeanor
Intoxication assault occurs when any of the “while intoxicated” scenarios accidentally causes serious bodily injury to another person. This is better defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk for death and/or that results in permanent disfigurement or protracted loss/impairment of the function of any body member or organ. Intoxication assault will increase a misdemeanor charge to a 3rd degree felony.
Intoxication Assault on a Firefighter, EMT, Peace Officer or Judge.
If the victim of the intoxication assault is a firefighter, EMT, peace officer or judge in the actual discharge of an official duty, the penalties increase as follows according Texas Penal Code 49.07
- The charge becomes a 2nd degree felony if the serious bodily injury is to a firefighter or emergency medical services personnel
- The charge becomes a 1st degree felony if the serious bodily injury is to peace officer or judge
Intoxication manslaughter occurs when any of the “while intoxicated” scenarios accidentally causes the death of another person. Intoxication manslaughter will increase a misdemeanor charge to 2nd degree felony.
Intoxication Manslaughter on a Firefighter, EMT, Peace Officer or Judge.
Intoxication manslaughter can be enhanced to a felony in the first degree if the person killed served as a firefighter, EMT, peace officer or judge in the actual discharge of an official duty.
Enhanced Offense Job Definitions
A firefighter, EMT & peace officer are defined as follows:
- Peace officer – Any person elected, employed or appointed as a law enforcement officer. This includes police, sheriffs, constables, marshals, airport police, city park officers, security and rangers.
- Firefighter – Any person employed by the state who is subject to certification by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection or is a member of an organized volunteer fire-fighting unit that conducts at least two drills each month.
- EMT – Any person employed as an emergency medical technician, medical technician, or paramedic.
Avoid Enhanced Offense Charges
To avoid the penalties common with enhanced offense DWI charges , hire an experienced DWI attorney like Clyde W. Burleson. Call 713-628-1503 today and speak with him 24 hours a day / seven days a week.