If you are charged with DWI in Texas in an accident where others have sustained bodily or severe bodily injuries, you can face additional or enhanced charges. But what happens if you are injured yourself in the accident?
This question comes front-and-center with a recent news report in which a woman in Hauppage, New York was pulled from her burning vehicle after it crashed into a utility pole. She was quickly rescued from the wreckage by two onlookers who observed the accident, and fortunately neither the woman nor anyone else was seriously injured. However, when the police arrived and conducted an investigation, they suspected DWI. The woman was soon arrested.
The situation could have turned out much differently for the driver. How would events have unfolded if she had needed to go to the hospital? What happens with a DWI arrest if you are in need of medical attention?
Your Health Comes First…
Under the law, a person's immediate health needs always take priority over any legal or criminal troubles. If police arrive on the scene of an accident where you are injured, they have an obligation to provide you with medical treatment first and investigate later. They will (or should) hold off on booking you until an EMT has checked you out at the scene and determined whether further medical treatment is necessary—including a trip to the emergency room. That said, being injured in an accident where you were the driver won't necessarily preclude a possible DWI arrest if police have reason to suspect you. It simply means you may face those charges when you are well enough to be sent home.
It's Not Always Simple
If the police discover you injured in an accident and they suspect you were driving while intoxicated, the situation immediately becomes more complicated than just a matter of pulling you over and arresting you. A whole new set of variables is introduced into the equation, any or all of which may impact the circumstances of your DWI case and even result in an improper arrest. For example:
- Your injuries themselves may cause you to appear drunk when in fact you are not.
- You might have been injured before the accident took place, and those injuries may or may not have contributed to the accident.
- You might have a prior medical condition which impacted your ability to drive and your subsequent behavior—again, misleading the authorities to suspect intoxication.
- In their attempts to investigate, law enforcement may inadvertently interfere with the EMT's attempts to treat you at the scene.
Whatever the case may be, if you are able, you should pay as close attention as possible to the circumstances surrounding your accident and subsequent DWI arrest, and you should share this information with your attorney as they may have a direct effect on the validity of your DWI case.
At Doug Murphy Law Firm, we will conduct a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your DWI arrest, including any injuries you may have sustained and how the police chose to handle them. We'll make sure your rights are protected and we'll fight on your behalf to get you the best possible outcome. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.