Can Others Face Charges if I Drive While Intoxicated in Texas? | Wilson County DWI Defense Attorney

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Can Others Face Charges if I Drive While Intoxicated in Texas?

Posted on in DWI

Atascosa County criminal defense attorney DWI

Law enforcement always comes down hard on those found driving while intoxicated (DWI). Not only did the driver make the conscious decision to become intoxicated and get behind the wheel, but they also decided to place other drivers in the direct line of danger. So, what if your DWI leads to another person’s injury or death? The injured driver may pursue a personal injury case in addition to the criminal charges that come along with a DWI. But what about the other factors at play? Can the person who provided you with alcohol also be held accountable? 

The Effects of Alcohol on Driving

A few drinks may not seem to leave a big impact, but there are a number of effects that alcohol can have on the average driver. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) cites four ways in which alcohol can affect your driving capabilities, the first being judgment. Adding alcohol to your system can alter your sense of judgment, in turn leading you to go 20 mph over the speed limit, blow a red light, and more. Your vision is also impaired, making it challenging to see traffic lane lines, speed limit signs, and the distance between you and the cars around you. Your reaction time will be delayed as well, making it very likely that you will be unable to properly react to all of the unpredictable occurrences that can happen while on the road. Finally, your ability to perceive color can also be affected. You may struggle to tell the difference between green, yellow, and red lights, which can easily lead to a dangerous accident. 

Dram Shop Laws

The state of Texas recognizes that alcohol can impair the consumer’s judgment, meaning one drink can quickly turn into one too many. For this reason, the state can also hold the bar or retailer who sold the alcohol accountable. Texas law states that a retailer or bar is liable if it sold, provided, or served alcoholic drinks to a person who was clearly intoxicated at the time of the transaction, and that person went on to cause injuries or property damage as a result of their intoxication. Party hosts are not held to this same standard unless the intoxicated person is under the age of 21. In other words, if guests are over-served at another person’s home, the host is not responsible. If, however, the person being served is below the legal drinking age, the host may be held liable for resulting injuries. 

Does This Leave Me Free of Charges?

Dram shop laws are applicable in personal injury cases and thus do not impact the DWI charges that you will face if you are found driving drunk. Even in the personal injury case, dram shop laws do not leave the driver completely exempt from their liability for the accident. Instead, the intoxicated driver may face criminal charges in addition to sharing personal injury responsibilities with the bar or establishment that sold them liquor. Those facing their first DWI charge will receive up to six months of jail time, a $2,000 fine, and minimum confinement of 72 hours. This continues to escalate if they receive consecutive DWI charges. These criminal penalties, in addition to the financial implications of a personal injury case, can leave those with DWIs financially destitute and with a criminal record.

Contact a Jourdanton DWI Defense Lawyer

If you are facing DWI charges, it is important to build a strong defense to avoid the snowball effect that such charges can cause. Our BCP Criminal Defense Attorneys have over 40 years of combined experience defending Texans in a court of law. We protect our clients' rights in pursuit of the best possible outcome, including dismissal, DWI diversionary programs, and sentencing alternatives. For help with your case, call our seasoned Atascosa County DWI defense attorneys at 830-769-1010 today.

 

Sources:

https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.dot.gov/files/alcoholanddrugs.pdf#:~:text=Alcohol%20and%20other%20impairing%20drugs%20reduce%20the%20ability%20to%20judge,even%20run%20off%20the%20roadway.

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/AL/htm/AL.2.htm 

 

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