Are you facing driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges in Texas? If so, it’s important that you know what you are up against. In Texas, both drunk and drugged driving are criminalized under Section 49.04 of the Texas Penal Code. A simple first DWI is punishable by up to a $2,000 fine, up to 180 days in jail, up to a one year driver’s license suspension, and an annual fee up to $2,000 to keep your driver’s license.
The above are the criminal penalties for a DWI conviction without any aggravating factors, such as serious bodily injury or death. If you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both and you caused an accident, you could be facing more serious consequences, such as intoxication assault charges under Section 49.07 of the Texas Penal Code. You could also face a civil lawsuit – read on as we explain.
Civil Lawsuits for DWI Accidents
If you are driving while intoxicated and you cause a car accident, you can be sued by the other drivers and passengers involved in the crash. If the accident is property damage only, you can expect the other driver to file an auto insurance claim to cover the costs of repairing or replacing their damaged vehicle.
“What if I hurt someone in a drunk driving crash?” If you caused a crash while driving impaired, you can face criminal charges and a civil lawsuit simultaneously. Even if you’re sentenced to jail, the victims of the accident can still file a civil lawsuit against you seeking compensation for their property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost income.
If you accidentally took someone else’s life while driving impaired, the victim’s surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against you. It does not matter if you’re facing a criminal trial, you can face a civil lawsuit at the same time the criminal charges are pending in the courts – this is a common occurrence. In cases where the plaintiffs don’t settle with the drunk drivers and they go to trial, jurors almost always side with the victims and try to penalize the drunk driver.