DWI with Property Damage
Driving while intoxicated can significantly put other and property at risk for an accident. We can see that in records by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). For example, in 2017 there were 23,760 DWI-related accidents which resulted in property damage and bodily injury. To deter drunk drivers, the state of Texas has implemented harsh penalties for DWI offenders and enhancements to those penalties if the DWI resulted in property damage.
If you’ve been accused of DWI with property damage, it’s important you start building a defense quickly so you can avoid the statutory penalties. The court may add an additional reckless damage and destruction charge on top of your DWI because you caused significant property damage or were involved in an accident. Not only that, but you could be required ot pay restitution to the victims for any repairs. That is why it’s imperative you seek an experienced Austin DWI attorney as soon as possible if you’ve been arrested for DWI with property damage.
DWI Accident Defense Attorney in Austin, Texas
The penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are serious enough in Texas, but if the offense involves property damage you can expect even harsher consequences. If you’ve been arrested for DWI in the Austin and Travis County area, then we recommend you consult The Law Office of Kevin Bennett.
Kevin Bennett of The Law Office of Kevin Bennett can provide effective and efficient legal representation for you. Attorney Bennett has spent years handling DWI cases with promising results. Set up your first consultation by calling our office at (512) 476-4626. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Travis County area including Bee Cave, Lakeway, Pflugerville, Manor, West Lake Hills, and Rollingwood.
- Can I Be Charged with DUI After an Accident in Texas?
- What Are the Penalties for DWI with Property Damage?
- Restitution Laws in Texas
- Additional Resources
Can I Be Charged with DUI After an Accident in Texas?
The full definition for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be found under the Texas Penal Code § 49.04. According to the statute, you’re guilty of DWI if you’ve done the following:
- Drove a motor vehicle to a public place; and
- Had a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 or more OR your physical and mental faculties were impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance
The number of grams of alcohol in a breath, blood, or urine sample is what’s known as your blood-alcohol concentration. Law enforcement utilize these chemical tests to determine whether your BAC is over the legal limit of .08 %. Commercial drivers and underaged drivers have a specific legal limit they must abide by which is .04 % for CDL holders and an even lower limit of .02 % for underaged drivers.
So, if you’ve been driving with a BAC of .08 and get involved in an accident, there’s a high chance you’ll be arrested for DWI. Officers will often ask you to undergo an DWI chemical test after an accident and if you refuse, they’ll likely take that as a sign of guilt and arrest you. They may even take a breath or blood sample without your implied consent if they have reasonable suspicion that:
- As a direct result of the DWI accident a person may die or died
- Any person other than you suffered serious bodily injury
- Any person other than you suffered bodily injury and was transported to a hospital or other medical facility for medical treatment
It’s important to remember there isn’t a specific statute for DWI with property damage. If you were involved in a DWI-related accident, then you’ll likely face an added charge of reckless damage or destruction. The Texas Penal Code § 28.04 states a person commits reckless damage or destruction if they do the following:
- Recklessly destroy or damage the property of another person; and
- You don’t have any form of effective consent from the owner
What Are the Penalties for DWI with Property Damage in Texas?
Under Texas law, there is no specific statute for DWI involving property damage. The courts will instead add a count of reckless damage or destruction if they see fit. Reckless damage or destruction is classified as a class C misdemeanor, which can result in a $500 fine. If it’s your first-time DWI, then you’ll face a class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by:
- Up to 180 days in jail
- A $2,000 fine
- Up to 100 hours of community service
- Driver’s license suspension for up to 12 months
- Completion of a 12-hour DWI Education Course
- Surcharges from the Texas Department of Safety of $2,000 for three years
Texas Restitution Laws
It’s very possible the judge may order you to pay restitution to the victim upon conviction. Restitution is a court order that requires the defendant to compensate the victim since they suffered emotional and financial losses due to the DWI-related accident. If you are ordered to pay restitution, then according to Texas Code of Criminal Procedure § 42.037(b)(1) you may have to pay an equal or greater of the following:
- The value of the property on the day of your DWI; or
- The value of the property on the day of your sentencing
On top of vehicular repairs and attorney’s fees, the court may order you to pay restitution for the following:
- Medical costs
- Loss of wages
- Disability expenses
- Or any other cost that may have occurred due to the DWI
Texas DWI Laws – Visit the official website of Texas Legislation to learn more about the state’s laws for driving while intoxicated offenses. Access the statute to find more information surrounding the elements of DWI, penalty enhancements, and admissible defenses.
Texas Restitution Statute – Visit a document provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Business and Finance Division to learn more about restitution and its purpose. Access the document to learn more about restitution itself, what is a restitution lien is, and other options victims may pursue to obtain compensation.
DWI Property Damage Lawyer in Travis County, FL
Understanding the laws and penalties behind the charge is the first step, now you need to secure yourself legal representation you can trust. Find an experienced and skilled Austin DWI defense attorney with Kevin Bennett at The Law Office of Kevin Bennett. His firm has represented clients accused of crimes for years and has a special focus on DWI cases. He can utilize his knowledge and thorough understanding DWI laws to craft a sturdy defense for you.
Set up your first consultation with The Law Office of Kevin Bennett now by calling our offices at (512) 476-4626. The Law Office of Kevin Bennett accepts clients throughout the greater Austin metropolitan area including Pflugerville, Lakeway, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Manor, and Hudson Bend.