Texas takes drunk driving seriously. A quick look at the statistics identifies that there are, on average, three alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents every hour of every day in Texas. That means one every 20 minutes. If that isn’t enough to make you think twice, the simple fact that almost a thousand people died in 2016 as a result of alcohol-involved accidents should.
What’s Considered Drunk Driving in Texas?
Drunk driving refers to the crimes of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or Driving Under the Influence (DUI). The criteria by which the crimes are measured are as follows:
- For an adult (age 21 or over) driving a passenger vehicle, a blood or breath alcohol level (BAC) of 0.08 can result in a DWI charge.
- For a commercial driver, the legal limit for blood or breath alcohol levels drops down to 0.04 for a DWI charge.
- For minors under the age of 21, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy and a minor who is caught with any alcohol in his or her system can be charged with a DUI. In a case where the minor has a blood or breath alcohol level of 0.08 or greater, he or she can also be charged with a DWI.
- Special provisions control instances where a person is charged with a drunk driving crime while a child is in the car, or when an assault or death occurs.
What Are the Ramifications of a Drunk Driving Charge?
Penalties for drunk driving depend on the age of the people involved, the harm committed (if any), and the number of repeat offenses (if any). These can include fines, jail time, probation, and, as of 2015, the requirement that an ignition interlock system be installed on the vehicles of anyone caught driving while intoxicated.
There are special programs available for first-time offenders that provide rehabilitation, counseling, and treatment rather than the traditional punitive justice approach. These programs, however, are only available to individuals who meet their specific requirements.
Drunk driving is treated seriously in Texas because of the damage that can be caused by anyone operating a vehicle under the influence. There’s never a good excuse for getting behind the wheel after drinking.
If you or a loved one was hurt as a result of a drunk driver, call Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP at (214) 231-0544 or toll-free (800) 738-4046. We offer you our 25 years of experience and a free case evaluation.