Each time you get behind the wheel, you run the risk of being involved in a car accident. While many auto accidents in Texas are minor fender benders, such as a low-speed crash in a parking lot, others have devastating or even fatal consequences. If you are the driver who caused the accident, you are legally responsible for all of the property damage you caused. More than that, you can be held criminally liable for injuries and deaths to others involved in the collision. If you have recently been involved in a collision or auto accident that you caused, you need professional representation from the best DUI lawyers.

Car Accidents in Texas

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, more than 634,000 auto accidents occurred in the state in 2022. This equates to an accident every 57 seconds. Every two minutes and nine seconds, someone was injured in a car accident. Every one hour and 57 minutes, someone died in a car accident.

There are numerous contributing factors to car accidents, and these include:

  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Drug impairment
  • Driver fatigue
  • Aggressive driving
  • Tailgating
  • Reckless driving
  • Speeding
  • Vehicle Defects
  • Hazardous roadways
  • Teen drivers

While even one of these factors can contribute to a serious accident, some accidents are the result of multiple factors. For example, a drunk driver may also be speeding and driving recklessly.

Collectively, drivers in Texas traveled almost 290 billion miles. For every 100 million miles traveled, 1.55 deaths occurred. This equates to 4,481 deaths from car accidents in Texas in 2022. In addition to deaths, 18,800 people involved in an auto collision were seriously injured. In two car accidents, six or more people died.

Several areas were particularly dangerous to drive in. While rural roadways are far less frequented than city roads, 51.42% of car accidents took place in rural areas. Of the 4,481 total car accident deaths, 2,304 of these deaths were in rural areas. Single vehicles running off the road resulted in 1,471 deaths in 2022. Crashes in intersections contributed to 1,030 deaths. Head-on collisions accounted for 636 deaths. While many auto accidents involved passenger and commercial vehicles, 562 motorcycle operators and passengers were killed. Pedestrians accounted for 828 fatalities, and 91 pedal cyclists were killed. In addition to these deaths, 244,092 injuries were reported in car accidents.

While safety precautions can reduce the severity of injuries, they are not foolproof. Just under 52% of the vehicle deaths reported on Texas roads in 2022 resulted in drivers and passengers not being fastened in a seat belt or child car seat. Almost 40% of the motorcyclists killed did not have a helmet on.

Drunk Driving Accidents in Texas

Driving under the influence of alcohol is a major cause of auto accidents, including both serious injury and fatal accidents. Intoxication accidents accounted for 1,163 of the deaths on Texas roadways in 2022. This equates to more than 25% of the deaths. The most prevalent time for DUI accidents was between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. Drunk driving accidents were more frequent on Saturdays.

In some cases, drunk drivers were not aware that they were legally intoxicated before setting off down the road. Alcohol impairs thinking and often leads to individuals making poor choices. In other cases, drivers believed that they could get home safely, such as if they only have a few miles to drive to get home or if they drive slowly. However, there is no safe distance to drive while intoxicated.

Alcohol has depressant effects on the body. These effects are experienced after the first drink, and they grow more pronounced as a person’s blood alcohol content increases. In the body, alcohol causes reduced response times and motor coordination skills. An intoxicated driver’s alertness is diminished, and they may have blurry or double vision. This can make it more challenging for a driver to determine how far away other cars, pedestrians, cyclists and even stationary objects are. Often, a drunk driver is not away of the degree of their impairment. This can result in speeding and reckless driving.

The effects of alcohol can be more pronounced by other substances. This includes many types of prescription drugs. Even over-the-counter allergy and cold medications can be problematic. Illicit drugs may be even more impactful in some cases. As a result, the level of a person’s impairment can be magnified when drinking alcohol with both legal and illegal drugs and medications.

The Consequences for Drunk Driving in Texas

Driving under the influence in Texas is a serious crime that can have far-reaching consequences. The first time a driver is arrested on a DUI charge, he or she may be charged with a Class C misdemeanor. The maximum penalty for this initial charge is six months in jail and a $3,000 fine. At minimum, a conviction requires the individual to serve at least three days in jail. This increases to six days if an open container was found. In addition, depending on the person’s blood alcohol concentration level, the driver’s license could be suspended for up to 12 months. If a child under the age of 15 was in the car, a conviction will result in a state jail felony as well as a fine up to $10,000 and between six and 24 months in prison.

A second DUI conviction is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties are up to $4,000 in fines and up to 12 months in prison. For a third DUI conviction or intoxication assault, the charge is a third-degree felony. The penalty may be up to a $10,000 fine and between two and 10 years in jail. In the case of a DUI fatality, the charge is intoxication manslaughter. This is a second-degree felony with a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

How a DUI Law Firm Can Help You

If you have recently been arrested and charged with a DUI, you may initially assume that there is no way to beat the charge. Failing a field sobriety test and a blood alcohol test can seem like irrefutable evidence against you. However, good DUI lawyers can employ effective defense strategies for these charges. For example, blood alcohol testing equipment can be inaccurate. Field sobriety tests are also not foolproof. For example, some of the tests are so challenging that individuals may fail them even when sober. Health conditions and medications can also interfere with performance on field sobriety tests.

There are other defense strategies that may apply to your case. For example, your DUI law firm could argue for the charges to be dropped if the accused did not have the opportunity to call the attorney early in the process. It may also be possible to refute the presumed fact that the accused was actually driving the vehicle at the time of the collision. The best DUI attorneys will thoroughly review the circumstances of your case and will determine the right strategy to use to yield the best result. Even if the charges against you cannot be dismissed, your attorney may also work toward the most lenient punishment.

Request a Consultation with DUI Attorneys Near Me

Whether you are facing your first DUI charge or you are now looking at a potential felony conviction with up to two decades in prison, you need professional legal representation as early in the case as possible. More than that, you need to find a respected law firm that has an excellent track record of defending clients successfully. To discuss your case with an experienced DUI lawyer and to learn about possible defense strategies for your circumstances, contact our DUI law firm today to schedule a consultation.