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Property Damage, Personal Injury Add to DWI ChargeIn a bizarre sequence of events, three drivers in Austin, Texas, were arrested for driving while intoxicated after being involved in three separate crashes at the same location and on the same night. Police officers were at the scene of a DWI crash when an allegedly intoxicated driver crashed into the back of a police car. After an ambulance arrived at the scene, another allegedly intoxicated driver crashed into that vehicle. No one was critically injured in the incidents, though three people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Causing property damage or personal injury in a DWI incident can result in harsher punishment if you are convicted.

Property Damage

Property damage in a DWI case most often involves damage done to another vehicle as the result of a crash. Prosecutors can add property damage as a separate charge from your DWI charge. Property damage is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of as much as $500. However, you may also face civil penalties if the owner of the damaged property files a lawsuit against you. The lawsuit is separate from the results of your criminal case and may require you to pay for repairing or replacing the property.

Personal Injury

You will face more serious punishments if you are convicted for a DWI accident that caused serious injury or death. A DWI incident that causes serious injury is called intoxication assault, which is a third-degree felony and may result in:

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Resisting Arrest Compounds Charges in DWI CaseWhether or not you believe it is justified, it is important to be respectful and reasonably cooperative towards a police officer when stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. You are entitled to defend your rights if you believe the officer is ignoring proper procedure during a DWI stop, but acting belligerent will antagonize the officer and escalate the situation. Compliance is particularly important if the officer decides to arrest you on suspicion of DWI. Prosecutors can add evading or resisting arrest to your DWI case. Even if your original DWI charge is dismissed, you could still be convicted on these charges.

Evading Arrest

Some DWI suspects attempt to flee when they realize they are about to be arrested. Texas law defines evading arrest as when:

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Field Sobriety Test Not Enough to Prove IntoxicationField sobriety tests are one of the initial tools police officers will use to determine whether someone is driving while intoxicated. Officers administering the tests are looking for signs of delayed reactions, poor coordination and an inability to follow directions, which may show that the driver is impaired. Officers and prosecutors have come to assume that certain standard tests are reliable in predicting intoxication. However, the tests do not definitively prove intoxication. Defendants can contest their DWI charges if the evidence relies too much on the field sobriety test results.

Test Origins

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration adopted the standard field sobriety tests based on a California study conducted during the late 1970s. Police officers were asked to judge whether subjects were intoxicated by using various field sobriety tests. Researchers identified three tests as having the highest accuracy rates:

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Posted on in DWI / DUI

Golf Carts Fall Under DWI LawOccasionally, you may read a story about someone who was charged with driving while intoxicated after a crash involving a golf cart. Because the vehicle is normally used for recreational purposes, it is common for people driving golf carts to also enjoy a few drinks. Driving a golf cart while intoxicated does not seem the same as driving a car because of the smaller size and power of the vehicle. However, Texas law treats it as a crime if you are caught.

Using Golf Carts

DWI laws apply to golf carts because Texas law classifies them as motor vehicles. Their use is regulated in different ways than a normal motor vehicle:

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Posted on in DWI / DUI

Safe Driving Tips After Your First DWIWhen you have regained your driving privileges after a charge of driving while intoxicated, you must reassess your driving habits that led to the initial arrest. Most DWI arrests occur because drivers commit traffic violations or are involved in accidents. Once a police officer suspects you may be impaired, you are at risk of being charged with DWI. Avoiding drinking and driving is the most important step you can take to prevent a DWI arrest. However, there are other driving tips that will keep you safe and help you avoid police attention.

Being Aware of Impairment

There are conditions other than intoxication that can impair your driving skills. You may be sick, emotionally upset or experiencing an adverse side effect from a medication. However, the most common driving impairment is drowsiness. Whether due to lack of sleep or overworking yourself, being tired slows down the mental responsiveness you need to be a safe driver. Police can also confuse the symptoms of drowsiness with the symptoms of intoxication. To avoid impaired driving, you should:

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