A first-time DWI with an accident can be a tough situation to overcome. These drunk driving accidents typically involve damage to your car, another vehicle, or a building, but it may also include injury to you, another person, or multiple people.
Whatever the case might be, there’s almost always one thing you can count on: you will be arrested by officers at the scene of the crime. However, just because you’ve been arrested doesn’t mean you’re guilty of a crime, and it doesn’t mean you should panic. On the flip side, it does mean that you should contact a lawyer and start prepping for your DWI case as soon as possible.
Let’s take a quick look at 5 other things you need to know if you’ve been arrested for a first-time DWI involving an accident.
1. The penalties for a first-time DWI with an accident are more severe than your average first-time DWI
Drinking and driving accidents punishments are never a walk in the park. In almost every situation involving a DWI crash, the penalties for a first-time DWI accident are more severe than a run-of-the-mill DWI. Not only will you be up against possible jail time, fines, and a license suspension, but you could also be responsible for restitution. This is especially true if any other parties were injured in the accident.
In cases where serious bodily injury was incurred, you may be charged with intoxication assault. Intoxication assault is considered a third-degree felony and carries penalties of up to $10,000, jail time of 2-10 years, and license suspension for 180 days-2 years.
2. In Texas, a deadly DWI is known as Intoxication Manslaughter
If someone was killed as a result of your first-time DWI with an accident, then you will likely be charged with intoxication manslaughter. This charge is considered a felony DWI in Texas (and is, quite frankly, a pretty big deal). However, with the right representation, it is possible to overcome an Intoxication Manslaughter charge. Usually, this involves a combination of science, eyewitness testimony, and video footage. You’ll want a lawyer with a proven track record in your corner; one who has experience handling and winning intoxication manslaughter cases in Texas.
3. You shouldn’t leave the scene of the crime
A hit-and-run DWI can also lead to severe penalties. These penalties can include up to a 20-year jail sentence and upwards of a $10,000 fine (if a severe injury is involved). Because of this, our advice is to remain at the scene of the crime, call 911, and provide assistance to the driver if necessary. If you can, it’s recommended to photograph the accident and take notes on everything that happened.
As we mentioned previously, it is almost guaranteed that you’ll be arrested for a first-time dwi accident. But again, this doesn’t mean you’re guilty of the crime in question. However, if you flee the scene, you could end up being guilty of additional crimes later down the line (even if you are found innocent of DWI).
4. Simple property damage can be serious
Damaging a stop sign or rear ending a parked vehicle while drunk seems like it shouldn’t be that big of a deal (or at least, not in comparison to other charges for a first-time DWI involving an accident). While it isn’t nearly as bad as an intoxication manslaughter charge, you will still face a DWI charge along with an additional misdemeanor charge for the property damage.
And, as we mentioned earlier, you could also face restitution fines for any damages you caused, as well. In other words, take this situation just as seriously as you would any other DWI-related charge.
5. Damage to only your property also has consequences
As far as drunk driving accidents are concerned, wrecking only your car is ideal. While you’ll still be hit with a first-offense DWI in Texas, you won’t have the added repercussions associated with injuring another person or damaging another person’s property. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t any additional consequences that you’ll need to worry about. You could face some hard-to-overcome issues with your insurance, including a large increase in cost or a complete cancellation of coverage.
Involved in a first-time DWI accident? Call Thiessen Law Firm.
What happens if you crash while drunk? Well, while there are a lot of things that could happen, we can tell you what definitely should happen.
You should call Thiessen Law Firm.
Thiessen Law Firm’s Mark Thiessen is a lawyer-scientist, multi-time Texas Super Lawyer, and triple board-certified DWI defense attorney. We have the experience and skill required to help Texans overcome a DWI charge — whether this DWI charge involves property damage, personal injury, or intoxication manslaughter.
Don’t wait another minute. Give us a call at 713-864-9000 or fill out our online form today. Let’s get over this hurdle together.
More Helpful Articles by Thiessen Law Firm:
- Probable Cause for DWI Arrest: Examples
- DUI and DWI Statistics You Need to Know
- 5 Common Misconceptions of Those Arrested for DUI in Houston
- What to Do When Pulled Over by the Police
- Can I Be Fired for DWI in Texas?