Last September, the official Twitter of the University of North Texas (UNT) Police Departmentreported that Denton County ranked 10th in the state of Texas for the number of driving while intoxicated (DWI) charges. This fact was despite the fact that Denton County had the smallest population of any county on the Top 10 list.
Denton County had a population of 887,207, according to a 2019 Census Bureau estimate. A DWI report by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) found that Denton County had a total of 2,037 DWI charges in 2018 and 1,852 in 2017.
A majority of DWI arrests in Denton County were made by the Lewisville Police Departmentwith 679, and the Denton Police Department was second with 399. Other agencies with more than 100 arrests included the UNT Police Department with 138, the Flower Mound Police Department with 115, and the Corinth Police Department with 112.
The Denton Police Department reported that there were 3,308 fatal motor vehicle crashes in Texas and 35 percent of those crashes involved impaired driving in 2018. One in three fatal crashes in Texas were impaired driving accidents in 2018.
David Causey, the community relations officer for the UNT Police Department, told the North Texas Daily that National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data showed DWIs were the leading cause of death on the roads in 2017 with 37,133 people dead nationally in motor vehicle accidents and 29 percent of those deaths accounted for with DWIs. In addition to the risks of fatal accidents and arrests, it is important to keep in mind that a person stopped for a DWI offense could also face additional criminal charges for other violations of the law.
This past April, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported that a 56-year-old Denton man was arrested in the 200 block of East Sherman Drive after a caller said a utility pole was on fire after being struck by a vehicle. Officers approached that vehicle to check if anyone was inside and found only one occupant as well as a loaded gun on the floor of the vehicle on the passenger’s side.
Officers believed that the male occupant had been intoxicated, but the alleged offender refused to have his blood drawn on scene although a warrant was obtained. The man ended up being charged with DWI and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
DWI Penalties in Texas
Any DWI arrest could involve significant consequences for an individual, and multiple offenses will lead to worsening penalties. A first DWI offense is typically a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of 365 days. When an alleged offender has a blood or breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than 0.15, then the crime becomes a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of 365 days.
A second DWI offense is also a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of 365 days. A third or subsequent DWI offense is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of up to two years.
Accidents could also result in enhanced criminal charges, depending on the nature of the injuries sustained in the crash. Intoxication assault is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of up to two years, but intoxication manslaughter is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of up to two years.
Another possible DWI crime is DWI with a child passenger, which occurs when a driver who was under the influence had a passenger who was younger than 15 years of age. This crime is a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in state jail, a fine of up to $10,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension of up to two years.
Denton DWI Lawyer
If you were arrested for a DWI offense in the greater Denton County area, you will want to be sure that you seek strong legal representation right away. Do not wait to contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Our firm has been fighting DWI charges for clients throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area for decades and we know how to get criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Let us examine your situation when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.