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Drunk Driving Accidents and Jail Time in Texas

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Many drivers may know that driving while intoxicated (DWI) or simply driving and drinking can have many consequences. This article addresses some of the consequences in Texas if you are arrested for a DWI or DUI.

What Happens If I Am Arrested for Drunk Driving?

In Texas, particularly the greater Houston area, a DWI accident can be life-altering for drunk drivers who cause an injury accident. The cost of a DWI can be high even if no one is injured. However, if someone is seriously hurt or dies after an accident, jail time is more than likely.

Drunk Driving is Out of Control in Texas

As noted by the CDC, approximately 4 million U.S. adults surveyed have admitted that they have driven under the influence of alcohol at least one time in their lives. Every day 37 people lose their lives in an alcohol-related accident, according to the latest numbers from CDC.

It is estimated that approximately 112 million alcohol-driving episodes occur yearly, with an average of 479 per 1,000 adults. How common drunk driving accidents are in Texas is surprising.

Looking at Where the Drinking Occurred

The best lawyers for people hit by drunk drivers strive to learn where the drinking occurred. A lawsuit against a bar is always investigated if the crash caused serious injury or death. Our DUI lawyers seek punitive damages if a drunk driver hurts our client.

Here is an article about suing bars and clubs for overserving.

Drunk Driving Consequences in Texas

This information shows that many drivers choose to drive under the influence of alcohol despite the genuine consequences. If a drunk driver injured you, here is how to find the best lawyer for a DUI accident injury. 

DWI AccidentAlthough many might be aware of the more tragic consequences of injury or even death, while others might be aware that fines may result, one should also be mindful that jail time is a real possibility in drunken driving accidents.

The first thing one must be aware of is the nature of probable cause regarding drunken-driving accidents.

For example, one might be familiar with the term “reasonable suspicion,” which is the nature of a police officer’s ability to investigate further to determine what crime may have occurred.

If an officer suspects one had been drinking and caused a crash, the odds are pretty good that the officer will ask for consent to conduct a breath test. Many are shocked at the cost of a DUI.

Drunk Driving Offenses in Texas

As such, during an accident, an officer may have cause to investigate both vehicles or ask questions to determine whether or not drunk driving is the cause of the accident.

If the officer has probable cause, a DWI arrest can be made. Jail time that results will vary and will be based on the number of offenses accrued:

1st Offense

3 to 180 days of jail time, a fine of up to $2,000 (unless a child under 15 is also in the car), and license suspension for 90 to 365 days.

2nd Offense

Thirty days to 1 year of jail time, a fine of up to $4,000 (unless a child under 15 is also in the car), license suspension for 180 days to 2 years, and the need for an ignition interlock device (IID).

3rd Offense

2-10 years of jail time, a fine of up to $10,000, license suspension for 180 days to 2 years, and the need for an ignition interlock device (IID).

Injury or Death in A DWI Crash Means Severe Consequences

If someone gets seriously injured or killed in a DUI or DWI accident, jail time can go through the roof. Recently, several people in the Houston area have been sentenced to over 30 years after a fatal DWI crash.

As one can see, drunk driving jail time in Texas without injury correlates to the number of offenses one has accrued.

It should also be noted that Texas has no “look-back period,” which means that no matter how long ago a drunk driving offense occurred, it will still count as a prior offense. If one had a first drunk driving offense 20 years ago, it would still count in addition to any drunk driving offense that occurs today.

Intoxicated Manslaughter is a charge often brought after a fatality by a drunk driver. The criminal case against the drunk driver is separate from the wrongful death lawsuit the family may bring.

Don’t Drink and Drive-In Texas

With this in mind, one can understand how important it is to refrain from drunk driving or simply driving under the influence of alcohol. Ultimately, it is not worth the potential injury and loss of life or the legal ramifications.

Does Insurance Cover Damages from a Drunk Driver in Texas?(Opens in a new browser tab)

Contact a Lawyer for DWI Accidents in Houston

If you are hurt in an accident with a drunk driver, call us to speak with the Houston attorney for a drunk driving accident.

Our top-rated law firm has been representing victims of drunk drivers for over three decades-Call (281) 587-1111!

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Pkwy, Houston, TX, 77069

Related DWI / DUI Resources:

How a Criminal DWI is Different from a Drunk Driving  Injury Case in Texas?(Opens in a new browser tab)


Why You Need a DWI Accident Lawyer After an Alcohol-Related Crash

How to Report a Drunk Driver in Houston

How a DWI Charge Impacts a Car Accident Case in Houston?

What is the legal alcohol limit in Texas?

What Should I Do if a Drunk Driver Hits Me?

Understanding Texas Open Container Law