How to Face Charges for DWI with Property Damage?
In Texas, strict laws exist against driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs. These cover impaired driving, DUI, boating while drunk, and controlled substance-related DWIs. Breaking these laws can lead to harsher penalties if specific conditions are met.
For instance, having a minor with you, an open alcohol container, or causing an injury can escalate the consequences. Causing recklessly damage or destroying property, like hitting a car or damaging property, also results in severe penalties. Even without injuries, DUI cases involving accidents or property damage receive close attention.
If a DWI leads to property damage cases, the punishment can be severe, including fines, compensation for damage, and even jail time. It’s crucial to understand potential outcomes and be ready for the consequences.
DWI with Property Damage under Texas Law
In Texas, there are no specific laws for prosecuting DWI cases that cause property damage, unlike cases involving injury or death. Instead, people often get charged with two separate offenses
A person commits a DWI violation if they drive while intoxicated in a public location, according to Texas Penal Code 49.04. Another component, Chapter 49, defines vital DWI terms.
The word “intoxicated” refers to losing control of the mind or body because of alcohol, drugs, or both. It can also mean having a blood alcohol level of 0.08 or higher.
Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is defined in Texas Penal Code 49.01(1) as the number of grams of alcohol in:
- 210 liters of breath
- 100 milliliters of blood
- 67 milliliters of urine
The “property damage” component of the violation is a separate charge in addition to any DUI/DWI offense. In rare situations, the alleged criminal may also face penalties under Texas Penal Code 28.04 for reckless damage or destruction. This includes deliberately harming or destroying property without the owner’s effective consent.
Consequences for DWI with Property Damage in Texas
If this is their first time getting in trouble for drunk or drugged driving, they could be charged with both reckless damage or destruction and DWI.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is categorized as a Class B or Class A misdemeanor, while reckless damage or destruction is classified as a Class C misdemeanor. Convictions will result in the following penalties:
- A punishment of up to $500 is imposed for a Class C misdemeanor.
- Class B misdemeanor carries up to 180 days in prison and/or a $2,000 fine.
- Class A misdemeanor carries a one-year prison sentence and/or a $4,000 fine.
If someone who has been convicted of DWI before commits DWI and destruction of property, their charges may be increased.
In addition to the legal punishments for DWI with property damage, there are other penalties you might face.
Driving under the influence can lead to various consequences. These consequences include probation, your driver’s license suspension, attendance of DWI classes, and payment of high fees. These fees amount to around $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years.
Moreover, you will need to regain your license after it has been suspended. Additionally, if you are charged with a DWI, the auto insurance company could potentially become charged more expensive.
How to Deal with Its Charges
If you’re charged with DWI and property damage, it can be scary. But you need to follow certain steps to handle the situation correctly. Here’s a general guide on how to face charges for DWI with property damage:
- Consult an Attorney: Start by hiring an experienced DWI attorney in Texas to understand your rights and options.
- Understand Your Charges: Your attorney will explain the charges, potential penalties, and the evidence involved.
- Gather Evidence: Work with your attorney to collect relevant information like police reports and witness statements.
- Explore Defenses: Your attorney will look for potential defenses, such as challenging the legality of the traffic stop or test accuracy.
- Attend Court Dates: Be punctual for court appearances and meet all deadlines.
- Consider Plea Bargains: Your attorney might negotiate for reduced charges if applicable.
- Complete Mandatory Programs: Attend required alcohol education or treatment programs.
- Follow Probation Conditions: If on probation, adhere to court-mandated conditions.
- Avoid Further Offenses: Avoid illegal activities during your case to prevent additional complications.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
If you’re charged with DWI and property damage, act fast to build a defense and lessen the required punishments. If you are charged with a DWI, the court may also charge you for reckless damage and destruction. This is particularly true if you were involved in an accident or caused significant property damage.
Furthermore, you may be required to reimburse the victims for any repairs that are required. It’s important to contact a good DWI lawyer quickly if you get arrested for DWI with property damage in Texas.