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Drunk driving punishment intensifies with the circumstances

The DWI laws in Texas, like the laws of other states, provide progressively tougher penalties as the seriousness of the circumstances increase. Thus, for example, those with one or more prior drunk driving convictions on their record will receive progressively increasing sentences, including possible time in jail. Getting in an accident and causing damage to property will generally increase the punishment.

When the offense includes an accident that causes serious personal injury or death, the charges and the punishment will be enhanced considerably by those factors. For a habitual offender to recklessly cause three deaths in one accident, that person, if convicted, will go to prison for a long time due to homicide-related charges that will accompany the DWI violations. It is certain that the offender will never obtain a license to drive again, assuming that he or she survives a long prison sentence.

The foregoing grim details were duplicated doubly for a 27-year-old habitual drunk driving offender who caused an accident in May 2016. He reportedly ran a red light, going 106 miles an hour, and crashed into a vehicle carrying a mother, father and their 18-year-old son who was preparing to graduate from high school. The accused went to trial but pleaded guilty after four days. He received a reported sentence of 25 years to 50 years' imprisonment.

Fortunately, the foregoing facts do not occur with great frequency in Texas or elsewhere. Most people do not have the kind of strikes against them that the above driver possessed. In some instances, a person charged with drunk driving will avoid serious consequences by engaging in rehabilitation, community service and simply following the law. Other times, the charges may be reduced, dropped or acquitted by a jury. The retention of an experienced DWI attorney is the single most important factor that has proved to result in a more favorable outcome.

Source: khou.com, "Man gets 50 years for driving drunk, killing a mother, father and son", Feb. 1, 2018

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