Getting the Legal Assistance You Need With a DWI Lawyer in El Paso
Drinking and driving is a serious offense, so if you’ve been charged with a DWI or DUI, you know how harsh the punishment is. A DWI attorney can help you by representing you in court and building a case to get your record expunged.
The Difference Between a DWI and DUI
When drinking and driving, you can be charged with two different things; a DWI and a DUI. A DWI, which stands for driving while intoxicated, is given when you are caught in the act of drinking and driving, usually because of reckless driving due to inebriation. A DUI, or a driving while under the influence charge, is given when you are found to be driving while intoxicated during a routine traffic stop. It’s important to know the difference between the two charges because they can affect what kind of punishment you receive.
Drunk Driving in Texas — Key Statistics Regarding DUIs/DWIs
On average, every 20 minutes someone is hurt or killed in a vehicle accident involving alcohol on Texas streets and highways. In 2016, the state lost 987 people to DUI accidents. El Paso is among the top five Texas cities with the highest number of DUI-related crashes. The majority of drunk driving crashes take place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 4 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Since 2005, Texas has made an effort to crack down on drunk driving offenders. In 2015, the state became the 25th state to pass the “all-offender ignition interlock law”, which requires people caught driving while intoxicated (DWI) to install an ignition interlock in their vehicle. Since 2015, Texas has seen a decrease in drunk driving deaths by 8.5 percent. From 2006 to 2016, the interlocks prevented 244,991 people from drunk driving.
Other key statistics to keep in mind:
- More than 90,000 Texas drivers are arrested each year for drunk driving.
- People will drive drunk over 80 times before they are finally arrested or involved in an accident.
- Twenty-one percent of alcohol-related accident fatalities take the lives of individuals between the ages of 21 and 25.
Common Injuries That Result From Drunk Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 28 people lose their lives every day as a result of intoxicated drivers. That’s one death every 53 minutes. For those who survive a drunk driving accident, they are likely to experience severe bodily injury. The most common areas injured include:
- Brain – A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may occur when the neck is jolted and the head hits an area of the vehicle. The penetration of the skull results in life-altering consequences. Brain injuries could leave victims temporarily unconscious or with permanent damage.
- Spinal Cord – Spinal cord injuries could lead to partial or complete paralysis. The location of impact and severity can lead to lifelong pain and permanent nerve damage.
- Legs and Knees – Side-impact collisions generally result in injuries to the knees and legs. Victims can experience broken bones, torn ligaments, shattered knees, or worse — lose their inability to walk.
- Chest – The ribs and sternum are typically injured in high-speed accidents. Broken bones in the chest create life-altering effects as they tend to puncture the vital organs.
- Neck – The neck is especially vulnerable when it comes to car crashes. Collisions can crush the trachea or damage the larynx, which creates issues with breathing, speaking, and eating.
What Happens After a DWI/DUI?
In Texas, drunk driving is taken very seriously. In fact, if you receive a DWI or DUI, you’ll have to deal with various penalties, including:
- License suspension. For your first DWI/DUI offense, your license can be suspended anywhere from 90 days to a year. For your second or third offense, this time can be a lot longer.
- Increased insurance rates. As with any traffic violation, your monthly insurance rates may increase with a DWI/DUI offense.
- Hefty fines. For a DWI/DUI offense, you may have to pay up to $2,000 in fines. After a third offense, the fine increases to up to $10,000.
- Added points to your license. For each traffic violation you receive, “points” are added to your license. These points accumulate over time and if you receive a certain number of points within a certain amount of time, your license may be suspended.
- Jail time. Even if it’s your first offense, a DWI/DUI may land you in jail for anywhere from 72 hours to 180 days. The jail sentence increases for both your second and third offenses.
DWI/DUI Punishment for Minors
Punishment is different for adults and minors. In Texas, anyone under the age of 21 is considered a minor for laws involving alcohol. Minors may face punishments like license suspension, community service, and probation. These punishments may increase in intensity for each subsequent crime committed.
Don’t Attempt to Handle this Matter on Your Own — Contact the Huerta Law Firm in El Paso Today
If you’ve received a DWI/DUI, a DWI lawyer can help you minimize the punishment you receive. Learn how the Huerta Law Firm can help you by giving us a call us today for more information.