DWI/DUI: Criminal Vs. Civil Law


If you or a loved one have been injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, it is important that you consult with a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so that you can understand your rights to compensation.

In Texas, there is an important distinction between drunk driving charges in criminal and civil law. Driving while intoxicated is a criminal offense. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances and whether anyone was hurt in the collision. If you're injured in a drunk driving wreck, the intoxicated driver is likely to be charged with a crime (DWI) and prosecuted in a court of law for driving drunk. However, those criminal penalties have nothing to do with providing restitution to you as a victim; they're about punishing the driver for breaking the law.



As the accident victim, you have your own rights to a recovery under Texas civil law for your accident-related injuries and damages. Civil law gives you recourse to pursue a personal injury claim against the drunk driver's car insurance company. To do this, you must prove negligence, which is generally easy to do if the negligent driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If the at fault driver does not have liability insurance as required by law, hopefully you have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage on your own insurance policy.

Civil law cases can be pursued at the same time the criminal case is proceeding through the criminal court system.
Information from the criminal law case can often be extremely helpful in the success of the civil case.

If you were injured in a car accident in the DFW Metroplex caused by a drunk driver, call the lawyers at the Anderson Law Firm. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of combined experience representing the injured victims of drunk driving accidents. We hold drunk drivers and their insurance company responsible for hurting innocent people.

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