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Drunk Driving in Texas


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Impaired driving is taken very seriously in Texas, and rightfully so. Intoxicated drivers claim hundreds of lives every year. They endanger themselves and those they share the road with.

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Drunk Driving in Texas

  1. 1. Impaired driving is taken very seriously in Texas, and rightfully so. Intoxicated drivers claim hundreds of lives every year. They endanger themselves and those they share the road with. DRUNK DRIVING IN TEXAS
  2. 2. Drunk Driving Defined According to the Texas Penal Code, the term “intoxicated” is defined as:  Not having the normal use of your mental and physical faculties due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol; and/or  Having a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. The BAC limit is lower for certain classes of drivers. For example, drivers under age 21 may not drive with ANY detectable amount of alcohol in their system. Commercial drivers are subject to a .04% BAC. It is also illegal to have an open container of alcohol anywhere in a moving vehicle. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000
  3. 3. DUI vs DWI  Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a charge against drivers under the age of 21 who have any detectable level of alcohol in their blood. DUI is charged under the Texas Transportation Code (Section 521.342)  Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a charge given to intoxicated drivers who have a BAC of 0.08% or above. It is typically considered a much more serious charge. DWI is charged under the Texas Penal Code (Section 49.04 – in Title 10, Chapter 49) Remember the difference: When you see DUI, think of the “U” as a stand-in for “under 21”, the legal drinking age.
  4. 4. Impaired Driving (Alcohol & Drug) Deaths (2016) CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000 For the purposes of reporting, the Texas Department of Safety combines Drug- and Alcohol-related offenses in their fatality tables. Intoxicated drivers 638 Persons in “victim” vehicles of intoxicated drivers 149 Passengers in vehicles driven by intoxicated drivers 143 Pedestrians and pedalcyclists 56 Other 1 Total Fatalities 987
  5. 5. Drunk Driving Crash Statistics There were 884 fatal drunk driving crashes in Texas in 2016. There were also 18,727 confirmed drunk driving crashes that caused injuries: 2,302 of those injuries were confirmed as “incapacitating” (serious), while 15,143 were verified as “non- incapacitating,” meaning that the injured victims were not admitted to a hospital after receiving emergency treatment. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000
  6. 6. Charges and Penalties (Non-Injury Accidents) CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000 For drivers who are charged and convicted of drunk driving where no accident occurred, the following await the suspect. This chart applies only to average adult drivers subject to .08% BAC. Offense Charge Fine Incarceration License Suspension First Class B Misdemeanor Up to $2,000 Up to 6 months (jail) 1 month Second Class A Misdemeanor Up to $4,000 30 days to 1 yr (jail) 3 months Third 3rd Degree Felony Up to $10,000 2 to 10 yrs (prison) 6 months
  7. 7. Charges and Penalties (Enhancements) There are variations on the above charges which take into account the possibility of injury or fatal accidents, BAC readings well in excess of .08%, the presence of young children in the vehicle, underage suspects, and “habitual” offenders (more than three convictions anytime within a driver’s history). It is also against the law to refuse a breathalyzer or blood test to keep law enforcement from getting a BAC reading. Suspects who refuse to be tested automatically lose their license for six months, and the refusal may be used against them in court. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000
  8. 8. Drug-Impaired Driving Texas’ drugged driving law applies to common drugs like marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates, a combination of two or more of these substances, or any other substance in the body. A driver can be charged with a drug-related DWI for operating a vehicle while impaired by any substance - even if it’s prescribed by a doctor. Those convicted generally face the same penalties as an alcohol-related conviction. Such convictions can be counted as a “prior offense” when calculating punishment, regardless of whether they involve alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000
  9. 9. Can DWI/DUI Convictions be Removed (Expunged) from Criminal Records? Though many criminal convictions can be expunged (sealed), DWI/DUI convictions in which the suspect was given probation or a jail or prison sentence cannot be sealed or expunged. There only two ways for these offenders to try to clear their records. They can first request a pardon from the Governor or President, both of which are quite rare. Or they can petition for a writ of habeas corpus. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000
  10. 10. Criminal Conviction = Easier Civil Case Drivers who are convicted of DWI, for either drugs or alcohol, in addition to criminal penalties may be subject to civil lawsuits brought against them by injured victims or the family survivors of those they kill in a wreck. This means the injured plaintiffs can be compensated for medical (and funeral) expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other legal damages from the convicted suspect. If the suspect is convicted in criminal court, collecting civil damages from the convicted driver typically becomes significantly easier. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000
  11. 11. Civil Lawsuits Against Drunk Drivers If you have been injured, or a family member has been killed by a drunk driver, the attorneys at Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law can help. Call us today at 1 (800) 444-5000 or send us a message online to arrange a free consultation. CONTACT US TODAY: 800.444.5000