What Happens if Your DWI Causes Property Damage?

Posted by Doug Murphy | Mar 24, 2023 | 0 Comments

Crashes often result from driving while intoxicated in Texas. And while we often expect that damage to a car may happen during an accident, sometimes a DWI car crash can cause substantial damage, whether to multiple vehicles or buildings and structures beside the road. That's what an unfortunate Austin homeowner recently discovered.

Drunk Driver Crashes into House

On January 19, 2023, at 2:30 am, a drunk driver crashed into the home of Austin resident Chris Newby. The car thankfully crashed into an unoccupied guest bedroom, but the accident caused substantial damage to the home. Rescue crews had to extricate the driver, and police arrested him on suspicion of intoxicated driving. A KRQE news article noted that the driver's insurance company would be paying for the repairs, but this is a good example of collateral consequences that can happen if you're involved in an accident that causes substantial property damage along with a DWI.

Responsibility for Property Damage

If the police cite you for the accident and arrest you for DWI, you could be responsible for the costs of repairing the damage caused by your accident. You could also face reckless damage or criminal mischief charges and a DWI. While reckless damage is a misdemeanor charge, police may charge criminal mischief as a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances surrounding your crash.

Leaving the Scene

If you're involved in a crash that results in property damage, whether to another car, you have a duty to remain at the scene, provide your information to others involved, and render assistance if needed. See Tex. Transp. Code § 550.022 (2005). If you leave the scene, you can face additional criminal charges. Moreover, if you damage other property like a home, or city or state property such as a “structure, fixture, or highway landscaping,” you also have a duty to stop. Tex. Transp. Code § 550.025 (2017). If you leave the scene after causing property damage to another vehicle or a structure, you could face a Class C misdemeanor for damage under $200 and a Class B misdemeanor for damage worth $200 or more. A conviction for a Class C misdemeanor can result in up to $500 in fines, and a Class B misdemeanor can result in up to $2,000 in fines, along with up to 180 days in jail. You can face these charges in addition to your DWI charge.

Hire an Expert in Texas DWI Law

If you're facing a DWI charge along with liability for substantial property damage, the consequences can be serious and impact your finances and your ability to obtain insurance in the future. You need an expert in DWI Defense to protect your rights and ensure you present the best possible defense. Attorney Doug Murphy is an expert in DWI Defense and Criminal Defense law, holding Board Certifications in both these specialty areas of the law.

U.S. News and World Report's Best Lawyers in America also recently named Doug as a “Lawyer of the Year” for 2023 Houston DWI defense. Find out why the Houston Press calls Doug “the drinking driver's best friend.” Contact the Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., online or call them at 713-229-8333 to schedule your 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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