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Drinking and Driving: Every Penalty You’ll Face for DWI

In Texas, you can be charged with a DWI if your blood alcohol content is .08 or higher. While the penalties for a DWI are severe, they increase substantially whenever there is an accident that involves injuries. The actual charges can be a felony or a misdemeanor. However, the burden of proof is still on the government to show you were intoxicated and that this condition contributed to another person’s injuries.

Possible Crimes

A person who is charged with a DWI-related accident can face additional misdemeanor or felony charges, and a few of them include:

Those who have previous DWI arrests are typically treated more harshly than first-time offenders are. In addition to criminal sanctions, the family of the victim might also bring a civil suit for negligence against the impaired driver as well.

Factors that Influence Charges

When determining what charges to bring, the criminal justice system will look at the totality of the circumstances. A few things they might consider include:

  • Driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC)
  • Whether the operator was also texting or using drugs
  • Severity of the injuries
  • Amount of property damage
  • Individual’s actions after the accident
  • Prior criminal history

An affirmative defense may be available if the driver was not voluntarily intoxicated. If someone else slipped drugs or alcohol to the defendant without his knowledge or consent, he generally cannot be held liable for his actions in a court of law.

Possible Consequences

Since there is a wide range of crimes a person can be charged with after a DWI accident with injuries, there can also be a wide range of punishments. First-time offenders may receive only probation, community service and fines if they are charged with misdemeanors. Second and subsequent offenders could receive extended incarceration time that could equal up to 99 years behind bars. Defendants could also be ordered to pay restitution to their victims, attend drug and alcohol counseling and give up their driving privileges for a period of time.

There’s plenty at stake for those charged with a DWI accident involving personal injury. It’s in one’s best interest to get professional legal help as soon after an arrest as possible.

For more information about the various types of DWI crimes, speak to criminal lawyer Shahin Zamir at 713-223-8900 and get a complimentary case evaluation.