Montgomery County Texas Judge Gets Tough on Habitual DWI Offender

San Antonio DUI defense lawyerThe Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that every 53 minutes, someone is involved in a fatal car accident due to the actions or reactions of a driver operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. This startling number equates to the death of 28 people per day with an annual cost of over $44 billion. As the CDC remains hopeful that the implication of effective measures and awareness campaigns may help prevent injuries and fatalities from alcohol or drug impaired driving, what can be done to curtail the habitual offender?

Montgomery County Judge Kathleen Hamilton may have just set a fundamental precedent. For a Houston man arrested for the ninth time for driving under the influence and responsible for a non-fatal accident, Judge Hamilton handed down a life sentence. This DWI conviction will probably evoke an appeal, but is it time for all states to become more legally vigilant on habitual offenders?

Currently Texas enforces the following punitive measures for adult offenders:

First Offense

For those arrested for alleged DWI (driving while intoxicated or under the influence of an illegal substance), a first offense may result in:

  • Fines of up to $2,000;
  • Jail time of three to up to 180 days;
  • Possible license suspension for up to two years;
  • Forced participation in a DWI intervention or education program; and
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device.

Second Offense

For those adults facing charges under a second offense:

  • Fines increasing up to $4,000;
  • Imposed jail time ranges from one month up to one year;
  • Loss of operator’s license increases up to two years;
  • Possible imposition of annual surcharge up to three years to maintain license;
  • Court-ordered DWI intervention or enrollment in an education program; and
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device.

Third Offense

If an adult is arrested for a third DWI offense:

  • Fines can reach up to $10,000;
  • Prison time, between two and up to 10 years, to be served in a state corrections facility;
  • License suspension is a minimum of up to two years;
  • The annual license surcharge applies;
  • DWI intervention or enrollment in an education program; and
  • Possible installation of an ignition interlock device.

Aside from these offense-related legal consequences of habitually driving while under the influence, Texas also imposes Administrative Penalties for those adults who refuse to consent to a chemical or field sobriety test. Such penalties may result in immediate license suspension separate from DWI court proceedings.

For over 30 years, the Lone Star State has proudly flown the “Don’t Mess With Texas” banner. Judge Hamilton has taken the slogan one step further as she legally expressed her commitment to holding habitual DWI offenders accountable.

The legal and personal consequences of DWI in the state of Texas can be quite serious. If you reside in Central Texas and are facing criminal DWI charges, Texas DWI Defense attorney, Sam H. Lock can help. To discuss your case, contact The Law Offices of Sam H. Lock toll free at 1-888-SAM-LOCK today.

 

Sources:

http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Impaired_Driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Ninth-DWI-sends-Houston-man-to-jail-for-the-rest-7970363.php

http://www.dmv.org/tx-texas/automotive-law/dui.php 

http://www.dontmesswithtexas.org/about/

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