The Road to Negligence: Applying Drunk Driving Laws in Texas
Any skilled personal injury attorney will tell you that operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can do more than spell legal trouble. Doing so will place you, and more importantly, innocent motorists or pedestrians in danger of injury or death. Countless lives are lost each year in Texas due to drinking and driving. The legal implications alone are enough to make any motorist think twice about getting behind the wheel after a few drinks.
Commit the Crime, Do the Time
Texas has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the nation. Depending on the offense and severity of the case will determine jail/prison time, penalties or driver’s license suspension. The following highlights the legal trouble a driver can face:
- First offense – three days to six months in jail, up to $2,000 in fines, a 90 day to one year license suspension
- Second offense – thirty days to one year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, a six month to two year license suspension
- Third offense – two years in jail, up to $10,000 in fines, a six month to two year license suspension
Blood alcohol content level also varies depending on age or driver type in order to be charged with a DUI. For those under 21 years of age, the BAC can only be as high as .02 percent, over 21 is .08 percent and for commercial drivers, .04 percent.
Refusing Makes it Worse
Texas enforces implied consent laws meaning if a driver suspected of being drunk refuses a chemical test, he/she will be subject to a fine. A license suspension may also apply. If the driver has caused a wreck and refuses a test, this may be used in court if the case reaches that level. An officer is legally responsible to inform a driver that refusing a test could have serious legal implications.
When Drunk, There is No Such Thing as “Safe”
Inebriation greatly impairs a person’s motor and mental functions. Reaction times and logical-decision making can be either severely limited or non-existent. Operating a vehicle requires a clear head and rational thinking. The best advice when deciding whether or not to operate a vehicle when drunk? Don’t do it. Always have a designated driver with you. If lacking one, contact a taxi service. The cost of a ride home shies in comparison with the cost of dealing with destruction to property, or worse, an accidental death.
An injury brought on by a negligent drunk driver can be overwhelming. The J. Gonzalez Law Firm of McAllen employs a highly-skilled team of personal injury attorneys that can help with your case. They can be reached at 956.630.6700.