Driving drunk has a high probability of causing an accident or property damage. In 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) reported that there were 23,760 DUI-related crashes. A DWI with property damage could land you with expensive fines, incarceration and even a possible civil case. Texas law isn’t kind to people who damage property from DWI. You could face an additional reckless damage and destruction chare on top of your DWI. In addition, you could be required to pay restitution to the victim for any repairs. If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI involving property damage, it’s important you gain quality legal representation
Lawyer for DWI with Property Damage in Houston
Have you recently been arrested for driving while intoxicated? Did your DWI involve property damage? If so, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. You could be saddled with stiff fines, restitution costs and even prison time. Call Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. now for efficient and effective legal representation. Our attorneys have years of experience handling DWI cases. Our managing attorney, Tyler Flood, is also a designated ACS-CHAL Lawyer-Scientist. The title means he exhibited an in-depth understanding of the scientific techniques associated with DWI. Contact us today at (713) 224-5529 for a case evaluation. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. represent people throughout the greater Harris County area including Bellaire, Tomball, Houston, River Oaks and Pasadena. Overview of DWI with Property Damage in Texas
- DWI with Property Damage in Texas
- Penalties for DWI with Property Damage
- What is Restitution in Texas?
- Additional Resources
DWI with Property Damage in Texas
Driving while intoxicated is defined under Texas Penal Code § 49.04. The law states you’re committing DWI if you do the following:
- Drive a motor vehicle in a public place; and
- Have a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or more OR your physical and mental faculties are impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance
Blood-alcohol concentration is the number of grams of alcohol in a breath, blood or urine sample. Law enforcement uses chemical testing to determine if your BAC is over the legal limit or not. If you’re a commercial driver, then your legal limit will be lowered to .04 BAC. Underaged drivers have an extremely low legal limit of .02 BAC. Texas law doesn’t have a specific statute for DWI with property damage. You will instead be charged with an additional crime called reckless damage or destruction. Texas Penal Code § 28.04 states you’re guilty of reckless damage if you:
- Recklessly damage or destroy the property of another; and
- You don’t have effective consent from the owner.
It’s important to remember a DWI with property damage can result in a civil case. Some alleged victim will seek compensation if they’re injured from the accident. This means you could be saddled with a criminal trial and a civil case. In addition, the court may order you to pay restitution alongside your penalties. The restitution costs will go toward the victim’s injuries or vehicular repairs.
Penalties for DWI with Property Damage in Texas
Texas doesn’t have a specific statute for DWI involving property damage. Instead the courts will add a count of reckless damage or destruction to your charges. Reckless damage or destruction of property is a class C misdemeanor which may result in a $500 fine. A first-time DWI offense without any aggravating factors is a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- A fine of up to $2,000;
- Up to 180 days in jail;
- Up to 100 hours of community service;
- Driver license suspension for up to 12 months; and
- Completion of a 12-hour DWI Education Program; and
- Annual fee of up to $2,000 for three years by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
Since property damage is involved in your DWI, it’s likely the judge will order you to pay restitution costs. These payments are towards the victim, so they can repair their property. You could also find yourself with a personal injury case if your DWI accidentally harmed someone. Certain aggravating factors can enhance your DWI penalties. If you have an open container in your car, then you’ll face a mandatory minimum of six days in jail. Having a high BAC of .15 or higher can result in a class A misdemeanor that may lead to:
- A possible fine of $4,000; and
- Up to 12 months in jail.
Your crime will be reclassified as a state jail felony, if a child was in the vehicle during the offense. The penalties for a state jail felony include:
- A possible fine of up to $10,000; and
- Up to 24 months in state jail
What is Restitution in Texas?
Restitution is when the court orders the defendant to compensate the victim because they suffered from financial losses. It’s common for judges to impose restitution on DWI cases involving property damage. If your DWI resulted in property damage, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 42.037(b)(1) states the court can order you to:
- Pay an amount equal to the greater of the following:
- The value of the property on the date of your DWI; or
- The value of the property on the date of your sentencing
If your DWI injured the victim, the court may order you to pay restitution for:
- Medical costs;
- Loss of wages;
- Disability costs; or
- Any additional expenses that occurred because of your DWI.
Texas DWI Laws – Visit the official website of Texas Legislation to learn more about surrounding driving while intoxicated offenses. Access the statute to find more information surrounding DWI, public intoxication, intoxication assault and intoxication manslaughter. What is Restitution? – Visit a document provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Business and Finance Division to learn more about restitution. Access the document to learn more about restitution, what is a restitution lien and other options for victims to recover cash or goods from a crime.
DWI Attorney in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with DWI involving property damage, it’s crucial you understand the full scope of your penalties. A conviction could lead to stiff fines, prison time and possible restitution costs. Don’t wait another moment agonizing over this. Call the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. to start a defense plan today. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. is a group of criminal defense attorneys with a focus in DWI. Call us at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case evaluation today. We accept clients throughout all parts of the Houston area and surrounding communities including Tomball, Bellaire, Pasadena, and West University Place.
This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.