DWI in a Rental Vehicle

Posted by Doug Murphy | Aug 24, 2021 | 0 Comments

If you're arrested for DWI while driving a rental vehicle, you may have many questions about how damage to a vehicle you've rented can affect your prosecution for DWI. What happens to the vehicle? And will my insurance cover this? After a recent accident on US-59 in Houston, one Texas driver is probably wondering all of these things.

Rental Truck Roll Over

Early in the morning of Monday, May 17, 2021, an Enterprise Rental box truck driver was traveling southbound on Chimney Rock at US-59 when the truck struck a stopped car sitting at the red light at the intersection. The truck then veered off the side of the road and struck a concrete pillar under the freeway, flipping the truck over. The driver reportedly had minor injuries, but thankfully no one was seriously injured. Police took the driver into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

After the Arrest

If you're arrested for DWI while driving a rented vehicle, the police will probably impound the car or truck. If you have another sober, licensed driver in the car, the police may allow them to drive the car back to the rental company. If they're feeling generous, they may even wait and allow someone from your rental company to come pick up the vehicle. But the police don't have to do this, and they may impound the vehicle anyway. If you need to locate it, you can use or call the tow line at 713-308-8580. You can also let your rental company know, and they will track the car down. They will, however, charge you for any impound fees and any damage to the vehicle.

Accident Consequences

You can also face both criminal and financial consequences resulting from an accident in a rental vehicle, whether a court convicts you of DWI or not.

  1. Financial Consequences

If you caused damage to a rented vehicle, your rental company will likely contact your insurance company and make a claim. You will also be unlikely to rent from that company in the future and face insurance premium increases both for the accident and for the DWI if you're convicted.

  1. Criminal Consequences

Typically, a first DWI in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a license suspension, and a $2,000 fine. However, having an accident while intoxicated can elevate your DWI to a more serious charge. If the police elevate your DWI to a Class A misdemeanor, you could face up to a year in jail and up to a $6,000 fine. With a felony DWI charge, you could face mandatory jail time of up to two years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Hire an Expert in Texas DWI Defense

If you're facing a DWI charge from a rental vehicle, particularly if you were also involved in an accident, you need to hire a lawyer who is an expert in Texas DWI defense. Attorney Doug Murphy is the 2021 Houston Lawyer of the Year for DWI defense and one of only two Texas attorneys who is a Board Certified expert in both DWI defense and criminal defense. Doug has decades of experience representing Texans facing DWI charges, and he can help you too. Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 today to set up a consultation.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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