A woman who struck two young Halloween trick-or-treaters crossing a road in their Houston neighborhood has been charged with DWI. After the police arrived at the scene, they conducted a field sobriety test before bringing the woman downtown for further questioning. The children were taken to Texas Children’s Hospital, with reported injuries of a broken leg and scratches to the face.
Although a first-time DWI conviction may not be a felony offense in Texas, the penalties for driving while intoxicated quickly escalate based on other factors, such as repeat offenses, blood alcohol level, the speed of the car, whether children were present in the car, and the serious or fatal injuries cased to others. For example, a third conviction for DWI is classified as a felony, and other felony charges for drunk driving include Intoxication Assault, Intoxication Manslaughter, and DWI with a Child Passenger.
For a first-time offender, the jail time typically will be between 72 hours and 180 days, accompanied by a driver’s license suspension of up to one year and a fine of up to $2,000. Community supervision, formerly known as adult probation, may also be available to first- or second-time offenders, as an alternative to jail in some cases.
Given the severity of DWI punishments in Texas, the need for an experienced criminal defense attorney is evident. An attorney will analyze the facts of your arrest record and investigate the police procedures used against you. Potential challenges may be available regarding the accuracy of your breath test, whether there was probable cause for the stop, and the credentials of the arresting officer.
In this case, the police were called to the scene because of the pedestrian injuries. However, their behavior upon arrival is still subject to procedural scrutiny. An experienced DWI attorney will review the circumstances surrounding your arrest and help you prepare the strongest defense.
Source: Houston Chronicle, “Woman charged with DWI after trick-or-treaters injured,” Mike Glenn, Nov. 1, 2012