A recent study found that drinking and driving and binge drinking among veterans have increased in recent years. Since 2013, the incidence of binge drinking has increased from 14 percent to nearly 16 percent. Binge drinking is defined by consuming over four drinks for women and over five drinks for men within a two-hour period. In Texas, 18.6 percent of veterans reported binge drinking in 2017.
The study looked at binge drinking among veterans and compared their income levels. Researchers found that binge drinking was at the highest levels in 2017 among veterans with the most annual income.
Researchers found that a major factor related to binge drinking was a post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis. Around 60 to 80 percent of Vietnam War veterans diagnosed with PTSD also reported problems with alcohol abuse.
Researchers have found that drinking and driving among veterans have increased regardless of sex. The rate of drinking and driving increased from 2014 to 2017 from 1.6 percent to 2.5 percent. The rate among women increased from 0.8 percent to 1.7 percent, while for men, it increased from 1.7 percent to 2.6 percent.
Penalties for Drinking and Driving in Texas
If you have been charged with drinking and driving in Texas, you are facing up to 180 days in jail for your first offense, a fine of up to $2,000, and suspension of your driving privileges up to one year. The penalties for a second or third DWI steadily increase. For a fourth or subsequent DWI conviction, you face 2 to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000, and may have your license suspended for up to two years.
You may also be ordered to complete community service and driver education courses. If you were involved in an accident involving property damage or injuries, you may be ordered to pay restitution.
Mitigating Factors for Veterans Facing DWI Charges
If you are a veteran who has been charged with a DWI in Texas, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you beat the charges or point out mitigating factors to the prosecution to help you get a lesser sentence.
Some medical conditions can interfere with field sobriety tests and cause a police officer to arrest you because he or she believed you were drunk when you were really not intoxicated. This is especially true if the only basis for your arrest and charge is the field sobriety tests. For example, anxiety, neck or back problems, vision problems and difficulty with coordination or balance can all interfere with field sobriety tests. Your attorney may be able to challenge the results of a field sobriety test by raising a reasonable doubt about its validity for individuals with certain mental and physical conditions.
If you are a veteran who has been charged with a DWI, contact us right away to discuss your case. You may be able to qualify for participation in DWI court or veterans court if these options are available in your area. These courts have been set up to offer services to help those who have served in the military or who have been charged with more than one DWI to help them avoid re-offending and stay out of jail. But these are not always your best option. Fighting the charge may be your best option, and that's why it is always in your best interests to seek legal advice from one of Houston's best DWI attorneys.