The Texas Intoxication Phenomenon

It seems that everyday someone in Texas dies due to the irresponsibility of another citizen who has chosen to drive their vehicles on roads that they must share with other people, while they themselves are impaired. Often times, these drunk drivers are putting those very people they share the roads with at risk. Be it due to alcohol ingestion or drug use, driving while impaired is never safe. Neither for the offender or the innocent, is drunk driving an act to be taken lightly or with a grain of salt.

A Number of Reasons

When stopped by Houston Police Department, and prior to such occurrences, people have the ability to come up with all sorts of different reasons for feeling the need to get drunk and drive, all in an attempt to justify their drunkenness aimed at getting out of a DWI arrest.

One reason people will claim they are intoxicated could be that they had a rough day at work, another excuse could be marital issues, or any other experience that can cause stress in the lives of those among us who drink on a regular basis who are seeking out excuses to justify their criminal wrongdoing. While drinking isn’t illegal, and it certainly isn’t illegal to have a beer on a bad day, it certainly is illegal to drive while drunk or while intoxicated on any substance be it legal or illegal.

People Die in Houston

Harris County Sheriff Deputy Jesse Valdez III

Harris County Sheriff Deputy Jesse Valdez III (RIP)

As with the case of the Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy that was killed in a violent auto accident by a local meth head who was out of prison on parole, innocent people lose their lives on a regular basis due to the irresponsibility, and lack of morals, of others.

Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Jesse Valdez III, (was) a single father residing in the Houston area, was killed this morning on Wallisville Rd in east Harris County, Texas (the Houston area) when an SUV slammed into his patrol car.

Kelly Jo Ivey is the person who was driving the vehicle, and you guessed it, she was in possession of a controlled substance, meth amphetamine, and was likely intoxicated due to usage of the drug at the time of the accident. Police found drugs on her person and her passenger, and she seemed intoxicated per news reports. Drug charges have been filed against the her in this case. She’s going back to jail. Thank God.

The Really Sad Part

Deputies said Ivey pleaded guilty in March to possession of a controlled substance and sentenced two-years in prison, according to court records. She was released from prison, deputies added, on parole this month, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

The officer was killed by a woman who should have been in jail.

DWI Laws in Texas

The Great State of Texas is known to be harsh on criminal offenders of all class while reserving its most harsh treatment for child molesters, capital murderers, and people who commit intoxicated manslaughter and other DWI related criminal offenses. The state of Texas leads the nation when it comes to the DWI phenomenon, and legislators in Austin have taken notice, have listened to their constituents, and have, and continue to, take actions on the matter as demonstrated by the passage of strict laws and penalties intent on deterring drunk driving, and punishing those people the penalties failed to deter.

Listed below is a general overview of the most common DWI offenses in the state of Texas, the punishment for each criminal offense, and other pertinent information for people who may need help gaining a broader understanding of the legal penalties for drunk driving related criminal offenses in Texas.

First Offense DWI

Only one DWI offense is required to cause you to incur a criminal history, and a chance at being charged as a felon on any subsequent offense. Be advised, there are a number of cases in which a 1st time DWI offender in Texas could be looking at felony charges with “DWI injury” or a “DWI causing death” being perfect examples.

With that said, if you’re arrested and charged with a DWI offense for the first time, you’ll be facing penalties which include a fine of up to 2,000.00, a sentence of anywhere from 72 hours to 180 days in jail, and your Texas Drivers License will be suspended for a period of anywhere from 90 days to 1 year. A first time DWI is a misdemeanor offense in Texas.

In most cases, people with a good lawyer who is adept at fighting DWI allegations, will avoid jail time altogether. The court will let them off with a slap on the wrist probationary sentence which can last anywhere from 6 months to two years.

Second Offense DWI

If you’re found guilty, or plead guilty to a DWI offense for a second time, you can expert far more harsh criminal penalties than those reserved for citizens guilty of such an offense for the first time. Depending on the caliber of DWI lawyer in your corner, you may be able to avoid jail time if your legal representation can get you a light sentence of something like Community Supervision from the court.

If you accept Community Supervision (Probation) you’ll have to fly straight for at least 2 years which is a long time if you intend on violating the terms, or refuse to clean up your act. Some jail time may be required prior to beginning the Community Supervision portion of the penalty which may entail as many as 200 hours of Community Service or more.

I guess it beats jail if you like the taste of freedom.

Aside from alternatives to serving a jail sentence, if you’re found guilty of Driving While Intoxicated for a second time, the maximum fine is 4,000.00, the jail sentence can range anywhere from 30 days to 1 year, and there’s a strong likelihood that your Texas Driver’s License will be suspended for the full 2 years of the “180 day – 2 year” Texas Drivers’ License suspension guidelines.

Per Texas Transportation Code §521.246 you may also be required to use some form of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to prevent your vehicle from operating if your Blood Alcohol Level indicates to the devices that you are intoxicated.

Third Offense DWI

For 3-Time DWI offenders the monetary fine goes up to a massive 10,000.00 along with a jail sentence of 2-10 years in a Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) detention facility. The driver’s license suspension period remains at 180 days to 2 years for 3-time DWI cases. Keep in mind that if you’re charged for a 3rd DWI offense in the state of Texas you’re dealing with a felony case.

There is still the possibility of avoiding jail time when found guilty for DWI a third time, but it’s circumstantial and based on things like “the last time you were arrested”, the severity of the situation surrounding the incident, alcohol concentration levels in the bloodstream at the time of arrest, and a number of other details that may be taken into account during the sentencing phase of your dealings with the court.

If you are granted probation for a 3rd time DWI offense in Texas, you may be forced to agree to up to 600 hours of Community Service, some mandatory jail time, and some form of rehabilitation treatment or enrollment in a rehabilitation program geared towards alcoholics.

Your legal representation will be able to better inform you of the potential circumstances of any probation you’re granted from the court as well as direct you to a rehab program if you find yourself in a situation like this.

DWI Manslaughter

When someone is killed on the road as a result of an intoxicated driver, its referred to as either Vehicular Manslaughter or, to be more formal, Intoxication Homicide. As Texans, I’m sure we all know someone who has been hit by a drunk driver, or either killed due to an automobile accident with a drunk driver. Hell, even entire generations of families have been wiped out by drunk drivers so expect no sympathy from me if you kill someone because you couldn’t be a responsible drinker and ended up gettin’ hit with a 20 year prison sentence after killing someone with your car.

Yes. A 20 year sentence. The situation can get crucial when it comes to criminal justice in Texas. Its criminal justice with the law-abiding citizen in mind.

Criminal penalties of a 10,000.00 fine, up to 20 years in prison, and a drivers license suspension will likely be imposed if you’re found guilty of Intoxication Homicide in Texas. For more information, or for expert legal advice, we recommend making contact with a lawyer who normally handles DWI cases in the Houston area with any questions that you may have about cases involving Intoxication Manslaughter in Texas.

DWI Injury

Intoxicated vehicular assault is, as its name implies, a serious felonious offense in which a drunk driver is responsible for causing injuries as a result of an automobile accident in which the victim suffered injuries or other bodily harm.

Punishment for such a criminal offense includes a fine of up to 10,000.00, two to ten years in a state correctional facility, and you can also expect your Texas Drivers License to be under a suspension that will last from 6 months to 1 year.

Driver’s License Suspension

A subtle penalty, but having your drivers license suspended in a city like Houston, TX will quickly leave you right in the middle of a rock and a hard spot. The city of Houston is amazingly huge to the point where a 30 minute drive to one area of town is seen as a short trip by native Houstonians making it important to have personal transportation of your own.

However, if you make the bad decision to drive in spite of having your driver’s license being suspended by the State of Texas you go straight to jail and likely violate any probationary deal you made with the court to prevent your having to serve jail time.

This can lead to more jail time.

Once your drivers license is suspended, the State of Texas, or the Medical Advisory Board to be more precise, will decide when to restore your driving privileges after the required amount of time has passed per the requirements of the law.

Prevention, Then Intervention

Lets all be honest; alcohol can be addictive just as much as being social and enjoying nights out can be. The key is moderation. Its perfectly fine and legal to enjoy a drink, and even to go out and get drunk. Aside from laws against public intoxication, you can get drunk as much as you want to at home without concern for legal repercussions and the need to hire a DWI lawyer to represent you in the court of law.

When you are out in public keep in mind there’s no rule that says that you “have to drive” yourself to and from your destination especially if there will be liquor or any other type of alcoholic beverages involved. Its important to be smart when enjoying alcoholic beverages because, as we all know, things can get out of hand quickly.

Get Legal Help From A Houston Lawyer

Taking a few years to think over your crime in jail, or attempting to fight DWI charges in a Houston, Texas courtroom without being protected by the legal representation of a top DWI defense lawyer is suicide if you ask me. And if you did ask me to refer to a lawyer in Houston that normally wins DWI trials in the court of law, I’d recommend making a phone call to the Houston DWI Attorney Tad Nelson of The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates by calling 713-802-1631 or 281-280-0100 as soon as possible for immediate legal advice and legal representation.

The law firm is led by Houston DWI lawyer Tad Nelson, and they not only have an office location in Houston, but also in League City, TX, and Galveston, TX.

Tad Nelson is one of less than 10 DWI lawyers in America who are not only attorneys, but scientists in their field. Regardless of whether or not you are guilty or innocent, be sure to hire a smart lawyer to fight for you in the court of law.

Why do 20 years in the penitentiary for a DWI in Houston that you may only need 1 or 2 years to learn from?

The Texas Intoxication Phenomenon