If you're facing a charge for driving while intoxicated that involved damage to public property, you're probably worried about the consequences of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction. But you're probably also concerned about how the damage to city or state property can affect your chances of conviction and any penalties you might face.
In January of 2021, KXXV reported a single-vehicle accident in Bryan, Texas, that closed a major roadway. An allegedly drunk 18-year-old driver left the road and struck multiple utility poles, leaving downed power lines and road obstructions all over W. William Joel Bryan Parkway near North Sims Avenue. After an investigation, police took the 18-year-old into custody and arrested him for driving while intoxicated. Although there were no injuries, the damage to public property was extensive.
While a first DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor, damaging property can add a wrinkle to the charges. A first DWI can result in up to a $2,000 fine, a mandatory license suspension, and 72 hours to 180 days in jail. The state also charges mandatory fees for a DWI that are not within the discretion of the court. The charge for a first DWI within 36 months is $3,000.
Under Texas law, a DWI that results in “reckless damage or destruction of property” can also add a Class C misdemeanor to the DWI charges. See Tex. Penal Code § 28.04. While this charge should add a $500 fine and no additional jail time, the statute also requires that you pay “fair market value” for the damaged or destroyed property. If the property damage was extensive, the police can charge you with criminal mischief, which can be a felony under Texas law if the property damage is more than $2,500.
Finally, even if the court orders you to pay restitution in an amount the court believes will make the owner whole, any third parties involved can also sue you for damages in civil court. As you can see, hitting a utility pole or a fence isn't always just a minor accident. As a result, you need a Texas DWI attorney with extensive experience in handling complicated DWI cases.
Hire an Experienced Texas DWI Attorney
Attorney Doug Murphy is a Board Certified specialist in both DWI defense and criminal law, and he has a proven track record defending Texas DWI charges. He is one of only two attorneys in Texas certified in both these specialties. Doug's Board Certification in DUI defense comes from the National College of DUI Defense (NCDD), accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He also currently serves as the Dean of the National College for DUI Defense conducted at Harvard Law School.
Best Lawyers in America recently named Doug the “Lawyer of the Year” for 2021 for DWI defense. Find out why the Houston media calls Doug “a drinking driver's best friend.” Call the Doug Murphy Law Firm at 713-229-8333 today to set up a consultation.