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When Your Family is Injured in a DWI Accident

 Posted on May 05, 2023 in Uncategorized

We all know that driving after you've had too much to drink is not a good idea. Most people don't intend to drive drunk when they get behind the wheel after having a few drinks. But you can also face charges far more serious than a DWI if you get into an accident and injure or kill someone in your family riding in the car. That's what a former truck driver in Waco recently discovered in this horrifying scenario.

DWI Crash in Waco

In April 2020, Waco police arrested a retired truck driver on suspicion of DWI after a crash in the 1400 block of Dallas Street. His wife died in the crash. According to the arrest affidavit, witnesses reported the couple appeared to be arguing in the car while driving. A witness saw the woman reach over and grab the steering wheel, "and that they lost control and hit the curb." The 2005 Ford Focus then rolled, ejecting the man and his wife from the car. The woman died at the scene.

Police reported that the man admitted to drinking a 12-ounce beer and a shot of liquor but denied police a blood sample for a BAC test. After the police obtained a warrant for a blood sample, testing revealed a BAC of.162, more than twice the legal limit of.8 percent. The man pled guilty to intoxication manslaughter in January of 2023.

At a sentencing hearing in April, prosecutors recommended he spend four years on probation, and the judge followed the recommendation. She also required that he spend 120 days in jail as a condition of probation, with 39 days credit for his time in jail after his arrest. He will also serve 300 hours of community service while on probation. During his sentencing, the judge told him, "I know you have lost your wife, which is probably punishment enough." After the hearing, his attorney reported that the man "is appreciative that the court signed off on the plea agreement and he is ready to complete his obligations to probation. He and his family will continue to miss [his wife] all day, every day."

DWI in Texas

A typical first arrest for a DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor. If convicted, you'll face up to 180 days in jail, a license suspension, a $3,000 fine, and a mandatory administrative fine of $3,000. However, if there are aggravating circumstances or if you have multiple DWI convictions, you can face more serious charges.

Felony DWI

If a family member in your is seriously injured or killed in a DWI accident you allegedly caused, you could face felony DWI charges. You can also face felony charges if you have a child under 15 in the car during your DWI arrest or four or more DWI convictions.

  1. Intoxication Assault You may face an intoxication assault charge in addition to your DWI charge if someone has a "serious bodily injury" due to your DWI accident. Under Texas law, "serious bodily injury" means an "injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ." Tex. Pen. Code § 49.07 (2007). Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony in Texas. You can face two to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine if convicted. If your DWI accident seriously injures an on-duty first responder, you could face second-degree felony charges.
  2. Intoxication Manslaughter You can face a charge for Intoxication manslaughter if someone dies due to a DWI. This can include a pedestrian, a driver or passenger in another car, or a passenger in your car. See Tex. Pen. Code § 49.08 (2007). If convicted, intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and two to 20 years in prison. You can also face a more serious first-degree felony if the death involves a first responder on duty during the accident.
  3. DWI with a Minor in the Car You can face a state jail felony for DWI with a child passenger if you have a child under 15 in the car at the time of the arrest. If convicted, you will face a minimum of 180 days and up to two years in jail. You can also face a suspended license, up to 1,000 of community service, and a $10,000 fine. This state jail felony charge is in addition to your original DWI charge.

You Need an Expert in Texas DWI Defense

The consequences can be serious if you're facing a DWI charge after someone you love was injured in an accident you supposedly caused. In addition to your DWI charge, you can face felony charges for intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, or a state jail felony charge if you had children under 15 in the car. You don't have to handle these complicated legal matters on your own. You need an expert in Texas DWI defense to help you through the legal system so that you can focus on your family. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in both Criminal Defense Law and DWI Defense, with Board Certifications in both these specialty areas of the law. Moreover, Doug has extensive experience handling complex felony DWI cases through Texas.

U.S. News and World Report's Best Lawyers in America recently named him a "Lawyer of the Year" for Houston DWI defense in 2021 and 2023. Doug is also active in the legal community, serving as the Dean of the National College for DUI Defense conducted at Harvard Law School. In the Houston area, Doug has served as President of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association and served two terms on the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association board of directors and as co-chair of the DWI Committee on multiple occasions.

Doug and the team at the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. have been helping Texans accused of DWI and other serious felony charges for years, and they can help you too. Find out why media outlets call him "the drinking driver's best friend." Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. at 713-229-8333 or contact them online to schedule your consultation.

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