For decades, countries have been running campaigns to sensitive drivers against driving under the influence of alcohol, but drunk driving fatalities show more efforts are needed. For instance, Texas records one death every nine hours and six minutes in alcohol-related traffic crashes.
These accidents leave severe emotional and physical traumas and the financial burden associated with the legal tussle. Despite being the guilty party, you also have a right to a fair judgment. However, it might be hard without an experienced lawyer by your side.
At Glenn Law Firm, we represent persons accused of drunk driving by explaining the charges and recommending the best course of action.
Texas Drunk Driving Accident Statistics
According to the Texas department of transportation, the nation recorded 13,592 alcohol-impaired driving deaths between 2009 to 2018. In 2016 1,438 residents were killed as a result of drunk driving. Out of which, 82 drunk driving deaths occurred during the holiday season.
13, 177 fatal crashes were recorded in 2017, from which 521 people died while 1,271 victims sustained injuries. Additionally, 56% of young adults were involved in the crashes. Sadly, 33% of the deaths in 2017 affected individuals aged 21 years and below.
Texas also recorded 24,305 drunk driving crashes in 2018, and 87 people lost their lives. The annual drunk statistics show that Harris County ranked first in alcohol-related crashes and deaths worldwide.
Harris County recorded 3,229 DUI crashes and 113 alcohol-related driving fatalities. Dallas, the county closest to Harris, was second with 2,257 accidents and 77 deaths, about 1,000 fewer crashes than Harris County.
Texas recorded 24,614 motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019. Unfortunately, 812 people lost their lives. Harris County and Dallas County had the highest number of alcohol-related accidents at 3,603 and 2,191. Additionally, Bexar County and Travis County recorded 2,108 and 1,454 crashes.
When Is a Person Considered Intoxicated in Texas?
When you are involved in an impaired accident and cause death, injuries, or property damage, the officer at the scene will arrest you on suspicion of being intoxicated. The officer will request a chemical test to check the blood alcohol level in your system.
If you refuse to cooperate, the officer will get a search warrant and compel you to provide the specimen, such as an open container of alcohol. Texas laws indicate that having a BAC(blood alcohol content) of 0.08 and above means intoxication.
Interestingly, a person's alcohol tolerance varies depending on the beverage consumed, gender, height, weight, and whether the person had taken enough food. For instance, one or two drinks per hour for women and adolescents can lead to an alcohol level of 0.08 and above.
What Are the Drunk Driving Charges in Texas
Texas drunk driving law classifies impairment offenses as misdemeanors or felonies. Often, the violations lead to a driver's license loss, fines, or jail time. First-time offenders of the drunk driving offense without any factors making the situation worse is considered a Class B misdemeanor in Texas.
Upon conviction, one could spend from three to one hundred and eighty days in jail or a $2,000 fine. However, you may get harsh penalties if you cause an accident while driving.
The nature of the offense will determine the statute you will be prosecuted under, imprisonment period, and fine amount you will pay. Here are some of the charges you may face if you cause an accident under the influence of alcohol.
Causing an Accident and Injuring Other Parties
When you cause an accident and injure another person, you are liable to intoxication assault, a third-degree felony under Texas law. You are accused of intoxication assault if you cause bodily injuries that lead to permanent disfigurement, loss of an organ, or risk of death to another person apart from yourself.
Intoxication assault is punishable and one can spend 2-10 years in prison or a $10,000 fine. However, if the injured person was an emergency medical personnel, firefighter, or the victim sustained a traumatic brain injury, the offense becomes a second-degree felony. In such a case, you may spend two to twenty years in prison and a fine of $10.000.
Causing an Accident That Results in the Death of Another Person
If your actions caused tragic consequences, expect a second-degree felony. The offense, intoxication manslaughter, attracts a jail sentence of 2-20 years in jail or a $10,000 fine.
However, if the dead person was a firefighter, law enforcement officer, or medical personnel, the offense is elevated to a first-degree felony.
Causing an Accident Leading to Property Damage
Texas law does not have a statute specifically addressing charges if alcohol-impaired drivers cause an accident that results in property damage only. Nonetheless, if you are driving under the influence and damage someone else's car or property, you could be charged with reckless damage and DWI charges.
Reckless damage charges involve conducting yourself in activities that pose risks despite being aware of the expected results. The offense, classified as a class C misdemeanor, attracts a $500 fine.
Causing an Accident and Leaving the Scene
If you are involved in a drunk driving crash and leave an accident scene without rendering help to the injured party or leaving vital information, you will be charged with hit and run under the Texas laws.
Leaving the scene after causing bodily injury will attract a third-degree felony and class B misdemeanor.
Are You Looking for the Best DUI Lawyer in Texas?
Have you been accused of drunk driving and do not know the best steps to take? You need a DUI lawyer by your side to offer you legal advice. A DUI lawyer represents you during the out-of-court settlement and sticks with you even if the case moves to court.
At Glenn Law Firm, we have experienced lawyers who work hard to ensure the outcome is favorable to you. Once you reach out to us, we will take up the legal battle and minimize the consequences as much as possible.
You do not have to undergo the pressure insurance companies put people through to accept liability nor say anything that might incriminate you further. You will have full representation with us, and we will protect your rights from start to finish.
Call us today and an experienced lawyer will be waiting to take you through the legal process.