Texas Laws Regarding Driving With Alcohol

Drunk Driving Accidents Can Be Fatal

There is a reason why drivers are informed of the dangers of drunk drivers. Drunk drivers do not only pose a danger for themselves: they pose a danger for everybody on the road. Every year, there are people that take the extremely irresponsible and thoughtless decision to drive knowing they have consumed unsafe amounts of alcohol. The victims of drunk driving accidents can suffer minor injuries, such as scratches or bruises, or in severe situations, there can be fatalities involved. This is why when injured victims of drunk driving accidents contact us, we strive in providing the highest level of attention and support, and we do not stop until our clients receive the compensation they deserve.

Quick Drunk Driving Facts

As a Fort Worth personal injury lawyer, I know that DFW traffic collisions caused by drunk drivers frequently result in catastrophic bodily injuries for both the at-fault intoxicated motorist and their innocent victims. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 1,075 people (or 35.6 percent of all traffic fatalities) were killed in accident caused by drunk drivers.
We all know that driving after you’ve been drinking is not only against the law, it is incredibly stupid and dangerous. If you get behind the wheel with alcohol in your system then you are putting not just your own life at risk, but also the lives of countless others. 
Although the Dallas-Fort Worth personal injury lawyers at the Anderson Law Firm do not represent drunk drivers, here is some information regarding alcohol-related traffic crimes:

Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) Limits In Texas

Under Texas law, it is a criminal offense (DUI) for any motorist to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Whether or not a driver is considered illegally intoxicated depends on their blood alcohol content (BAC). For most drivers in Texas, the BAC limit is .08. Anything above that, and you are considered driving while intoxicated.

However, it is worth noting that there are also lower limits for commercial drivers (.04) and drivers aged under 21 (.02).

If convicted, a first offense is punishable by a minimum of three to 180 days in jail, a $2,000 fine, and a 90 to 365 day suspension of your driver’s license.

DWI Penalties for First-Time Offenders

Under Texas law, if you are caught driving while drunk, you face charges of a Class B Misdemeanor. This means that you face a fine of up to $2,000, potential jail time of between 72 hours and six months, community service of between 24 and 100 hours, and/or probation of between one and two years. 

Texas Open Container Laws

Regardless of whether or not you are driving, having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle is illegal (be it a can of beer, bottle of wine, or hipflask or liquor). Any open container must be securely stowed where it is inaccessible by either the driver or any passengers (i.e. in the trunk). The only exceptions to this rule are buses, taxis, motor homes and RVs.

Criminal penalties for having an open container in your vehicle are the same as those for first time DWI offenders, but the minimum jail time is increased to six days instead of three.

Making a Claim for Compensation Against a Drunk Driver

If you or someone you love has been injured in a traffic collision with a drunk driver, you may be entitled to claim damages to cover the cost of your injury-related medical bills, damage to your car, lost wages from missing work, pain and suffering.

A drunk driver doesn't have to be convicted for you to file a claim against them. 

Civil law (which governs personal injury and wrongful death cases) does not demand that the driver who caused your wreck be proven guilty without any reasonable doubt, as criminal law demands. Instead, if your lawyer is able to prove that the drunk driver was negligent and responsible for causing your crash, then it doesn’t matter whether or not they are convicted.

In order to win a personal injury claim against a drunk driver’s insurance company, you simply have to prove that they were the driver at-fault.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Handle Your Case?

Not everyone needs a personal injury attorney. However, if you've suffered serious injuries, are missing work or aren't sure about the next steps, it's in your best interest to consult and attorney. 

Here at the Anderson Law Firm, we work on a contingency fee, meaning unless we win your case, you pay us nothing, and you never pay us anything upfront. 
For more information on your legal rights and options, please call the Anderson Law Firm for a free, no obligation consultation. Call Dallas 214-327-8000 or Fort Worth 817-294-1900.
Other Articles You Might Be Interested In:                           
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Passenger Rights in Texas Car Accidents  
Drunk Driving Cases Resulting in Wrongful Death Claims   
Free Tarrant County Crash Reports   
Determining Whether The Negligent Truck Driver Was Impaired   

Mark A. Anderson
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Board Certified Personal Injury Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas