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An alleged DUI accident with injuries can have enhanced penalties

On Behalf of | Apr 4, 2024 | Drunk Driving

Any person who is arrested and charged with driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated in Texas should understand what they are facing. The penalties differ depending on whether it is a first offense or a subsequent offense; if there is an accident in which another person is injured; or if they have committed other violations in addition to the DUI or DWI.

For some, there is a chance of enhanced offenses and penalties. The charges can reach felony status with the accompanying ramifications including extensive jail time, a long-term loss of driving privileges and harsh fines. One circumstance in which the charges are enhanced is if there is an accident with emergency services personnel.

Can a DUI/DWI crash warrant harsher penalties?

Examples of when the charges can rise to felony level are when the accident injures a firefighter, emergency medical personnel, peace officers or judges. These individuals must be in the process of doing their duty at the time. For a firefighter or emergency medical professional, it is a second-degree felony. A peace officer or judge will result in a first-degree felony. It will be a first-degree felony if the firefighter or emergency medical worker dies.

For example, if there is a disabled vehicle and car fire in which firefighters are there assisting when an intoxicated driver collides with them and injures or kills them while they are working, it will increase the charges to a felony. A second-degree felony can lead to two to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. A first-degree felony can result in at least five years in prison and as much as life. The fine can be up to $10,000.

It is imperative to fight DUI/DWI charges

Any type of drunk driving allegation can be serious, but there are some that can be the catalyst for felony charges and the accompanying penalties. If there is an accident with the above-listed people and they are injured or lose their lives, it is likely that the driver will have enhanced offenses and penalties as part of the case.

It is important to remember that there are avenues of defense that can be effective. The testing procedure to determine intoxication could be called into question; the driver might not have been under the influence; or there could be options to reduce the charges. In some cases, the driver could receive treatment or even be acquitted.