Drunk Driving Accidents
Helping Victims of Drunk Drivers
Texas leads the nation in the amount of annual drunk driving accidents, though that may not be a surprise. In 2015, drunk drivers caused 1,337 deaths just in the state of Texas. The legislature, however, fails to take adequate steps to address this serious problem. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (“MADD”) is currently preparing to advocate for ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers. Until the state has passed such preventative measures, the best cause of action is to hire a drunk driving accident lawyer.
Texas Drunk Driving Laws
In Texas, if you are driving while intoxicated (“DWI”), this essentially equates to drunk driving. Texas uses your blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”) to determine whether or not you are too drunk to operate a motor vehicle. Texas law sets a number of BAC limits. If you are 21 years of age or older, you cannot legally drive if your BAC is more than .08. But, if you are a commercial or business driver, your BAC cannot be more than a .04. And, if you are younger than 21 years of age, you cannot have any detectable amount.
Drunk Driving Penalties
If you are caught driving drunk in Texas, and if it is your first offense, then the following penalties may apply:
- Jail time between three days and 180 days;
- A fine of up to $2,500;
- Annual surcharge of up to $2,000 for three years to keep your drivers license;
- Drivers license suspension for up to two years;
- DWI intervention or education programs; and
- A possible ignition interlock device.
Car accidents in Texas normally fall under negligence theories. Per Texas state law, for a successful negligence theory, you must establish the following:
- That the drunk driver owed you a duty;
- The driver breached this duty;
- The breach was the actual cause of the injuries;
- It was a proximate (foreseeable) cause of your injuries; and
It is often easier to establish negligence in a drunk driving accident, because drunk driving is considered negligence per se. Negligence per se arises whenever an individual acts in violation of a statute meant to protect others; here, a drunk driver is violating a statute prohibiting driving while under the intoxication, and as a result is considered negligent per se automatically.
Statute of Limitations
Car accidents in Texas are governed by a two year statute of limitations. That means you have two years from the date of your injury to file your lawsuit. If you do not file within this two year period, you are most likely barred from doing so.
Hiring a Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer
If you were injured by a drunk driver in El Paso, you should hire an experienced drunk driving accident lawyer. Our attorneys at the office of Pastrana & Lee can help. Call us today for a free consultation.