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Victims of Houston DWI Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter

Victims of DWI intoxication assault and the families of intoxication manslaughter victims should act quickly to preserve their rights after a crash. The damages after a crash can be devestating to the person who is injuried and their family. If you or a family member has been injured in a DWI, intoxication assault or intoxication manslaughter crash in Texas, contact the personal injury attorneys at Wilhite & Associates, P.C., today.

Victims of DWI Intoxication Assault under Texas Law

If a driver with alcohol intoxication or drug impairment drives in a manner that contributes to a crash involving serious bodily injury to another, then the DWI driver may be arrested for the felony crime of Intoxication Assault. DWI Intoxication Assault is a third degree felony under Texas law.

Texas law defines "serious bodily injury" as any injury that impairs or dismembers a body part, causes any permanent disfigurement, or creates a substantial risk of death. Penalties for the felony offense of Intoxication Assault can result in a fine of up to $10,000.00, 2 - 10 years in Texas State Prison, and a driver's license suspension. The victims of an intoxication assault may be entitled to restitution in the criminal cases, although often it takes years for even a portion of the restitution to be paid.

Texas Penal Code Section 49.07 also applies to any person operating a watercraft, aircraft, or amusement ride while impaired by drugs or intoxicated by alcohol.

Victims of DWI Intoxication Manslaughter under Texas Law

If the driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes a crash that results in another person's death, then the driver is guilty of Intoxication Manslaughter. DWI Intoxication manslaughter is a second degree felony under Texas law. The penalties for intoxication manslaughter including fines up to $10,000, up to 20 years in prison, and a driver's license suspension. Additionally, the driver can be required to pay restitution as a condition of probation, however, often the victims never receive full compensation from the restitution order. 

What Should the DWI Victim Do After the Crash?

First, if you are injuried during the crash then seek immediate medical attention.

Second, after the accident be sure to contact the police to request that they respond to the scene. If you suspect that drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash, give that information to the dispatcher. Keep an eye on the driver of the other vehicle to see if he attempts to flee from the scene. Take a mental note of the license plate number while you are waiting for the police to arrive. You should also attempt to obtain the name and insurance information of the other driver. if possible.

Third, obtain the name and contact information for any witnesses to the crash since they may be able to testify about the driver's erratic driving and how it contributed to the crash. Also, if anyone arrives after the crash get their contact information if they observe the other driver and any signs of alcohol intoxication or drug impairment.

Fourth, contact a personal injury attorney who can obtain a copy of the crash report and start the process of gathering additional information that will be important to determining your rights and seeing that justice is served in the case.

Who Might Be Liable for the Damages?

The victims of the drunk driving accident can include the driver or passenger in another vehicle, the passenger in the impair driver's vehicle, a pedestrian, a cyclists, or the personal representative or anyone killed in the crash.

After the crash, even a passenger in the drunk driver's vehicle might be entitled to compensation for his or her personal injuries. Additionally, if a public entity causes a condition on the roadway that contributed to the crash, then the public entity might also be responsible for certain damages.

Texas Dram Shop Laws - Holding a Third Party Liable

Texas' Dram Shop Laws were enacted in 1987. The Texas Dram Shop laws hold certain third parties such as individuals, restaurants or bars liable for the injuried person's damages if the third party served alcohol to a drunk driver immediately before the crash.

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code Section 2.02 provides a cause of action for serving, selling or providing alcoholic beverages to any person was is "obviously intoxicated to the extent that he presented a clear danger to himself and others" when the alcohol was sold or provided, and the intoxication was the proximate cause of the damages suffered.

The Texas Supreme Court held in 2007 an opinion that interpreted Texas' Dram Shop Laws in F.F.P. Operating Partners v. Duenez. In that case, the Duenez family was hurt by an intoxicated driver who purchased a 12 pack of beer from a convenience store after a full day of drinking. The intoxicated driver then drove his vehicle across the center lane of traffic crashing head on into the Duenez family's vehicle. The family sued the convenient store's clerk, the convenient store and the intoxicated driver.

The Texas Supreme Court held that the dram shop's liability is found by determining the percentage of liability that the jury attaches to the dram shop. In other words, the dram shop is not liable for all of the damages unless the jury finds that the dram shop is more than 51% at fault. Such a finding is exceedingly difficult given the fact that the drunk driver is usually more at fault than the bar by actually getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Conclusion

Contact a personal injury attorney at Wilhite & Associates, P.C., to discuss your case if you have been injured by a drunk driver in Houston, Harris County, Texas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas.

Wilhite & Associates, P.C. represents clients from all over Southeast Texas, including:

Harris County - Aldine, Atascocita, Barrett, Barker, Baytown, Bellaire, Brownwood, Bunker Hill Village, Channelview, Clear Lake, Cloverleaf, Crosby, Cypress, Deer Park, East Houston, El Lago, Galena Park, Hedwig Village, Highlands, Hilshire Village, Houston, Hudson, Humble, Hunters Creek Village, Jacinto City, Jersey Village, Katy, Kingwood, Klein, La Porte, Louetta, Lynchburg, Nassau Bay, North Houston, Pasadena, Piney Point Village, Seabrook, Sheldon, Shoreacres, South Houston, Southside Place, Spring, Spring Valley, Taylor Lake Village, Tomball, Webster, West University Place

Montgomery County - Conroe, Cut and Shoot, Magnolia, Montgomery, Oak Ridge North, Panorama Village, Patton Village, Roman Forest, Shenandoah, Splendora, Stagecoach, Willis, Woodbranch, Woodloch, The Woodlands

Fort Bend County - Arcola, Beasley, Fairchilds, Fulshear, Kendleton, Meadows Place, Missouri City, Needville, Orchard, Pleak, Richmond, Rosenberg, Simonton, Stafford, Sugar Land, Thompsons

Waller County - Brookshire, Hempstead, Pattison, Pine Island, Prairie View, Waller

Grimes County - Anderson, Bedias, Iola, Navasota, Todd Mission

Washington County - Brenham, Burton, Chappell Hill

The hiring of a personal injury attorney or other civil law attorney is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide which Houston attorney to hire for your case, ask us to send you free written information about our legal experience and qualifications.

This site is sponsored by George W. Wilhite, P.C. Our principal office is located in Harris County, Texas at 17101 Kuykendahl Rd., Houston, TX 77068.

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