Impaired driving includes driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs and driving while intoxicated (DWI). It is the illegal act of driving or operating a car while impaired by alcohol or drugs, or both. These acts have taken several lives and caused severe injuries in Texas.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, 13,592 people died from crashes caused by alcohol-impaired drivers from 2009 to 2018 in Houston, Texas.
Over the years, the death rates spiked to a whopping 8.8 percent, mainly from people ages 21 to 34, making it a serious public health problem. However, males are more prone to deaths due to impaired driving than females by 7.6%.
If you’ve been a victim of a car accident involving a driver who has been driving while drinking, you need to find an expert car accident lawyer to get you the justice and payment for the damages you deserve.
Read on to learn more about impaired driving and its penalties in Texas.
What is Impaired Driving?
Impaired driving is driving or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or dangerous drugs. This can result in accidents, paralysis, disfigurement, and deaths for both victims and drivers.
Impaired driving causes financial damages both to the driver and the victim.
The driver must pay for the damages and lose their license to avoid facing the harsh consequences of existing laws. To the victim, a significant loss of income and unpaid compensation for the damages hinders physical recovery.
Drivers should be more responsible with themselves to prevent accidents and lose hard-earned money in paying for damages.
What are the Penalties Applicable in Texas?
Getting involved in impaired driving in Texas is an indelible remark in your police records. When an officer pulls you up for impaired driving in Texas, these are the charges that you may face:
First offense – You’ll be fined up to $2,000, lose your license for a year and stay in prison for 180 days.
Second offense – A fine of up to $4,000, loss of driver’s license for up to two years, and one month to one year of prison time.
Third offense – A fine of $10,000, loss of driver’s license for up to two years, and two to ten years of jail time.
If you are pulled up for impaired driving with a child under 15 years old, you will be charged with child endangerment, which means an additional fine of up to $10,000, up to two years of prison time, and loss or confiscation of your driver’s license for another 180 days.
How to Avoid Impaired Driving?
Impaired driving is preventable if you know what to do and be responsible for yourself and others. Make sure to remember the following tips to avoid the dangers that impaired driving brings:
Do Not Drink Before Driving
This has got to be the most straightforward tip that anyone can follow. Do not chug any alcoholic drink and drive anywhere after when you are alone. Ask for non-alcoholic alternatives from the bartenders and drink those instead.
Do Not Give In to the Pressure of Drinking
The pressure of drinking, especially with friends, grabs you hard by the neck. Politely turn down any offer to drink alcohol when you are also the driver. Make them understand your point as to why you are not consuming anything alcoholic at the moment. You know your alcohol tolerance better than anyone else in the room.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Too much alcohol can make you nauseous and warm and lose concentration. If you want to drink, drink ample alcohol to satisfy your cravings. With this discipline in mind, you will have enough strength to walk to your car and drive wherever you want to go after drinking.
Have Your Keys Hidden
If you don’t trust yourself to drive after a round of drinks, ask someone to hide your car keys for you. Make sure the person you give your keys to has not drunk an ounce of alcohol and will look out for you if anything happens.
Get Your Vehicle Impounded
To ensure you will not drive recklessly after drinking, get officers to impound your car or motorbike. They have legal custody of your vehicle for the time being. Come back for it when you have sobered up and can drive with a clear mind.
Choose a Designated Driver
When drinking with a group of people, always appoint someone to drive each of you home after the gathering. That person should not drink any alcoholic drinks throughout the whole event. Agree with your designated driver about the situation. If you are going out with the same group next time, choose another person to be the driver.
Call a Taxi
When you are already drunk and cannot take yourself home, it is best to call a taxi or ride-sharing app like Uber or Lyft. The drivers are sober and will put your safety first above anything. You will thank yourself later for paying extra for a ride than paying hospital bills due to impaired driving.
Stop Taking Dangerous Drugs
Illicit drugs can alter your brain and body function when you use them every day. You will not be able to drive correctly if you keep taking these drugs. You better stop consuming dangerous drugs before it might be too late.
Listen to Doctor’s Orders
Certain medical conditions like vertigo, diabetes, vision impairment, lung disease, and cardiovascular diseases prevent you from driving any motor vehicle. Follow your doctor’s orders about driving or operating a car when you suffer from these conditions and consistently take medications. Look for available transportation near you should you plan to go out for fun and run errands.
Why You Need a Car Accident Lawyer
Hiring a reputable car accident lawyer is a must in handling your car accident case. They know the metes and bounds of DUI and DWI cases with their stellar courtroom experience.
If you were recently hit by an impaired driver and suffered severe injuries, you will likely lose every penny you saved.
Here are all the reasons why you need a car accident lawyer if you got involved in a car accident with a driver who has been under the influence of alcohol or drugs:
Give a Thorough Investigation of the Crash
Car accident lawyers will get to the bottom of things in a car accident.
They will work with investigators and police to collect footage of the crash, pull up relevant records, and gather witnesses to attest to your favor in preparation for the courtroom battles.
Car accident lawyers will also collect documents and statements for your insurance claims that must be presented to your car insurance company or the driver’s insurance company.
Reach an Amenable Agreement with Car Insurance Companies
Most car insurance companies give low settlements to victims of car accidents. It will be a lot lower if you do not have a car accident lawyer to back you up. The worst-case scenario is the insurance company will deny your claim, and you will not get paid.
Car accident lawyers will negotiate with car insurance companies to get you the monetary benefit you deserve to recover from the accident. With their negotiation experience, you will get every dollar and cent of the compensation which rightfully belongs to you.
Guide You Through Courtroom Battles
Car accident lawyers will help you understand your rights as the victim and navigate the grueling courtroom hearings regarding your case. They will gather the evidence and present it to court in your favor. They will do everything to get you the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Although most car accidents do not go to trial and are settled early, car accident lawyers are prepared to take matters to court when the guilty party is unwilling to pay your damages.
Get the Damages You Are Owed
Car accident lawyers work their way through your case to make sure you get the following compensation after suffering from severe injuries because of the accident:
- Loss of wage – Missing work due to physical injury from a car accident will affect your earnings. You should get paid for all the unearned wages while recovering from the injury.
- Medical costs – The burden of paying for hospital bills after the injury from the accident is a financial shock for the victim. It affects the savings that should have been used for other purposes.
- Vehicular repair – If you are also driving in the event of an accident, the vehicle’s repair costs should be paid by the driver at fault.
- Loss of earning capacity – Some accidents can get you paralyzed or disfigured and hamper your earning ability. You should be getting compensation for damages from the guilty party.
Get Work Done
Law firms are always running on deadlines. Car accident lawyers will surely get all the work done for you on or before the deadline, especially when filing lawsuits. Aside from that, they do not charge upfront fees for their services unless you are paid by your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Get the Best Services of a Car Accident Lawyer Today
Driving is a responsibility that each person must hold to a high degree. Accidents caused by impaired driving through the influence of alcohol or drugs have physical and financial damages that the guilty party will face for a lifetime.
Hiring a car accident lawyer is crucial in understanding your legal rights and getting the maximum compensation you deserve if you are involved in a car accident. A skilled car accident lawyer with adequate experience in handling similar cases can ensure that your rights are protected. If an expert car accident attorney takes your case, you can sleep easily at night knowing that your best interests are properly represented.
What are you waiting for?
Find the best car accident lawyer in Houston, Texas, now!