Are DWI Penalties Worse When There is an Accident?

Drunk driving can result in serious penalties in Texas upon conviction, even if you are never involved in an accident and never cause any bodily injury to anybody else. The penalties can be significantly more severe if you are involved in an accident, and it is critical to know that even a minor collision can lead to serious criminal charges. To be sure, a minor accident in Texas while driving under the influence of alcohol can have life-changing consequences, and it is essential to have an experienced Texas DWI defense attorney on your side. At The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates, we have years of experience defending clients against DWI charges, and we will work tirelessly to help you avoid a conviction. In the meantime, we want to tell you more about how DWI penalties can be substantially worse when you are involved in an accident.

Penalties for a DWI Without an Accident Are Serious

In order to understand the severity of penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas when you are involved in an accident, you should understand first that the penalties for a DWI without an accident are extremely serious on their own. Indeed, the following are the potential criminal penalties associated with a first offense, second offense, and third offense DWI even when you have not been involved in any kind of collision:

  • First offense: Up to 180 days in jail, up to $2,000 in a fine, and up to a one-year loss of your driver’s license;
  • Second offense: Up to 1 year in jail, up to $4,000 in a fine, and up to a two-year loss of your driver’s license; and
  • Third offense: Up to 10 years in prison, up to $10,000 in a fine, and up to a two-year loss of your driver’s license.

Even a DWI first offense without any kind of car accident will come with a mandatory three days in jail, and up to six months in jail as you can see above. The penalties become increasingly more severe for second offenses and third offenses. When you are charged with a DWI and you are involved in an accident, the penalties are significantly worse.

DWI Penalties Involving a Car Accident

Penalties for a DWI in Texas involving a car accident will often be charged as a DWI in addition to reckless driving, as intoxication assault, or as intoxication manslaughter under the Texas Penal Code, depending upon the specific facts of your case. If you are involved in a car accident while drunk driving and you do not harm anyone but you do cause property damage, you will likely face reckless driving charges in addition to DWI charges, which can mean additional Class C misdemeanor penalties.

You can be charged with intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter if you cause injury or death to another person, which are both felony offenses. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony that can result in up to 10 years in prison, and intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony that can result in up to 20 years in prison.

Contact Our DWI Defense Lawyers in Texas

Are you facing DWI charges in connection with a car accident? One of our Texas DWI defense lawyers can begin strategizing about your defense today. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for more information.