If you have been involved in an accident when driving while intoxicated (DWI), you can be charged with a felony, have your driver’s license revoked, and face severe penalties and fines including incarceration in state prison. Hiring the right attorney to help you deal with the aftermath of a DWI accident is essential. For a free case review, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253.
The Difference Between DWI Accidents and Car Accidents in Mesquite, TX
The Texas Department of Transportation considers anyone legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher; when someone is discovered to be operating a vehicle in this state, it is considered driving while intoxicated (DWI) offense. If the DWI caused injuries and property damage to other parties, your insurance company can significantly raise your rates or may drop you entirely. You may be facing long incarceration, the loss of your driver’s license, and thousands of dollars in fines.
Proving Negligence in a Car Accident
In most personal injury car accident cases, an attorney must prove that:
- You had a duty, or a legal obligation, to others to drive safely and obey traffic regulations.
- You breached or violated that duty by failing to drive safely.
- Your actions caused the accident.
- The accident harmed people or damaged property.
While DWI accidents resulting in injuries are generally handled the same way as car accidents, there are two differences. To prove negligence, a lawyer only needs to prove that you caused the plaintiff’s injuries without establishing you had a duty and breached that duty.
Another difference is that punitive damages are not usually awarded in car accident cases but are frequently awarded in DWI car accident cases. Punitive damages are meant to penalize you for the DWI and to discourage others from doing the same thing. Punitive damages apply when a person’s behavior is intentional or grossly negligent. Driving while intoxicated is considered gross negligence.
If you would like to review your DWI charge with an attorney, call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 for a free case evaluation.
Penalties and Fines in a DWI Accident Case
According to Texas Penal Code – Title 10 – Chapter 49, your first offense involving a DWI accident in Texas carries a fine of up to $2,000. There is no mandatory minimum jail time, but you may be incarcerated for 3 days to 6 months. You may even lose your driver’s license for 1 year. If you are in an accident where people were injured, and you are charged with a DWI, your charge is elevated from a misdemeanor to a felony.
On your second offense, you may have a fine of up to $4,000 and serve minimum jail time of 72 hours, which could be extended from a month to 1 year. This also includes the loss of your driver’s license for 2 years. You will also be ordered to have an ignition interlock breathalyzer switch installed in your car, which prevents you from driving if you are intoxicated.
If you are in a DWI-related accident and receive a conviction, your record can never be sealed. Penalties and fines can become much more severe if you have three or more offenses on your record or if there are aggravating circumstances to the original charges, such as having a minor under 15 in your car. If you have an open container in your car, the offense elevates from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor with jail time.
Hiring a DWI Accident Lawyer
In cases of a DWI involving an accident, wreck or injury in Mesquite, TX, like these where the stakes are so high, and the consequences will affect you and your family for the rest of your life, hiring an attorney will help you to defend yourself against the DWI charges brought by the state. Your lawyer will help you by:
- Investigating and reviewing the facts and evidence in your case. He or she will know how to respond to the charges by challenging the way the arresting officer stopped you or how the officer administered the breath test. They may also challenge the veracity of the tests by questioning if the Breathalyzer machine was calibrated correctly or how a blood test was administered.
- Keeping track of legal deadlines and making sure that police and medical reports, videos, photos, and other evidence is submitted in a timely manner.
- Being familiar with the courts, prosecutors, and legal systems in Mesquite, TX.
- Strategizing with you to give you the most effective defense.
- Negotiating with the prosecution to get you a plea bargain, reduced charges, and substance abuse treatment programs instead of jail time.
Get Help as Soon as Possible
Attorney Randall Isenberg is a former state judge and chief felony prosecutor with over 30 years’ experience, which gives him a wide-ranging and comprehensive view on the criminal law process regarding DWI accidents. If you were involved in a DWI accident, wreck or suffered injuries in Mesquite, TX, contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 for a free case evaluation.