Traffic accidents often result in property damage. Texas law mandates penalties for property that is damaged as a result of a DWI (driving while intoxicated, or drunk driving) incident, whether the damage is to another vehicle or property on the land or home of another.
A first-time DWI conviction in Texas is a Class B misdemeanor under the Texas Penal Code, Chapter 49.04, with a jail sentence of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000, as well as 72 hours of initial jail confinement.
When property is damaged as a result of a DWI, Chapter 28.04 of the Texas Penal Code, which addresses the "reckless damage or destruction" of property, tacks on a Class C misdemeanor charge to the DWI charge. A Class C misdemeanor is punishable upon conviction by a fine of up to $500, but adds no required period of incarceration.
In addition, restitution for "fair market value" of the damaged or destroyed property is almost always ordered by the court upon conviction of a violation of § 28.04.
As if a DWI charge alone is not serious enough, a DWI with Property Damage charge adds to the legal issues and the potential expense of a DWI incident. If you are charged with DWI with property damage anywhere in Denton County, Texas, you should contact a local DWI defense attorney as soon as possible, so that you may begin a defense of the charges lodged against you.
The DWI attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy are experienced in defending drivers charged with DWI with property damage. Our dedicated attorneys will be able to explain your criminal charges and then work hard to defend those charges, using our extensive resources and our knowledge of criminal procedure. In addition, we will fight to retain your driving privileges.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents DUI clients throughout Denton County, including the cities of Denton, Lewisville, The Colony, Little Elm, Flower Mound and many nearby communities throughout the North Dallas metropolitan area. Contact us today at 940-222-8004 so we can review your case and explain your options during a free, confidential consultation with one of our skilled DUI attorneys.
Under the Texas Penal Code Ann., Title 10, Chapter 49.04, Driving While Intoxicated may be charged when a "person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place."
A related section of Chapter 49 defines "intoxicated" as:
Under Texas P.C. § 49.01(1), "alcohol concentration" (also known as blood alcohol concentration or BAC) means the number of grams of alcohol per:
By law, the police are entitled to test a person's breath, blood or urine for alcohol or drugs. A person may refuse a chemical test for alcohol or drugs, but refusal results in an automatic driver's license suspension (which may be appealed).
The "property damage" element of the offense is charged in addition to any DUI offense. Texas Penal Code, Title 7, §28.04 states that a person commits an offense of "reckless damage or destruction" if, without the effective consent of the owner, he or she recklessly damages or destroys the property of the owner.
As a Class B misdemeanor, a first-time DWI offense is punishable by a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $2,000, or both. This is in addition to the required 72-hour confinement after the initial arrest. If the police found an open container during the traffic stop, the initial confinement is doubled to six days.
In cases of "extreme DWI," in which a person's BAC is 0.15 or above, the offense is elevated to a Class A misdemeanor, with a prison sentence upon conviction of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000, or both.
Reckless damage or destruction of property under § 28.04 of the Texas Penal Code is a Class C misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $500. Restitution for "fair market value" may also be ordered in such a case (§ 28.06).
In addition to the criminal penalties that are imposed in a DWI with Property Damage case, several other administrative penalties may be imposed. These include probation, driver's license suspension, mandatory DWI classes and expensive annual DWI surcharges of $1,000 to $2,000 per year for three years in order to maintain a driver's license after a DWI suspension is lifted. Insurance companies also usually charge higher rates for drivers with a DWI conviction.
In Texas, a person charged with DWI will automatically lose his or her license unless he or she requests an administrative hearing within 15 days of the incident, so time is in short supply.
The court may also require restitution for any property that was destroyed as a result of a DWI as a condition of probation or to regain a license; unless restitution is paid, no license will be issued.
Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 28 — Offenses Against Property — Read the section of the Texas Penal Code that defines offenses against property such as arson, criminal mischief, and other property damage or destruction.
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles — The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is responsible for the registration of vehicles, regulating motor carrier operating authority, and helping law enforcement agencies reduce auto theft increase public driving awareness. A regional service center is located at:Texas Department of Motor Vehicles
Texas Department of Public Safety — The Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) lists the potential punishments for alcohol-related offenses in Texas, including driver’s license suspensions and revocations, probation and required course attendance. A local DPS office is located at:Texas Department of Public Safety
Denton County Motor Vehicle Information — Local information and resources related to motor vehicles are available on the Denton County government website. The main Denton County office is located at:Mary and Jim Horn Government Center
If you were arrested for DWI with Property Damage anywhere in Denton County, Texas or the surrounding areas, contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
The experienced DWI attorneys at Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will make every effort to help you avoid the serious penalties that often accompany a DWI charge. We serve clients throughout Denton County, including Lewisville, Denton, The Colony, Little Elm, Flower Mound, Grapevine, Westlake and the University of North Texas.
We may be able to find problems with the prosecution's case, flaws in any tests that were conducted, or with the arrest itself, which may result in a reduction or dismissal of charges. You have little time to lose in order to retain your driving privileges, so contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at 940-222-8004 about your case.