KHOU 11 Investigation Finds That Some Texas Counties Are Placing Lives in Danger by Failing to Take DWIs Seriously
Recently, an important article covering how driving while intoxicated with a child in your car is simply not taken seriously enough here in Texas, regardless of the accidents and damage that often result. Although it is a felony that carries up to two years’ jail time, many charged in some counties simply do not spend any time behind bars, leaving those who are injured or killed due to their reckless behavior to take these individuals to court in order to recover from the burden of medical costs, lost wages, and other losses.
In One County, 65 Percent of Drunk Driving with A Child Passenger Resulted in Probation
The list of those involved in these crimes, who get off easy – usually just with two to five years’ probation – is significant. In fact, according to court records, between 2017 and 2019, almost 65 percent of DWI with a child passenger cases resulted in probation in Harris County alone. They included, for example:
- One driver who was swerving in the roadway and driving on the sidewalk, with her 4-year-old in the car, and who was so drunk that she fell out of her seat and was tested at a .442 blood alcohol content (more than five times the legal limit). She agreed to a plea deal to a reduced charge of misdemeanor DWI and received two years’ probation
- One driver who had a .291 blood alcohol level (more than three times the legal limit), driving with her 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, as well as an open bottle of vodka, who crashed into five cars, running through an intersection during the process. She also agreed to a plea deal, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor DWI, and received two years’ probation
- One driver whose blood alcohol limit was .154 (twice the legal limit); whose felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor DWI on a plea deal; and who received two years’ probation after crashing into a ditch
- One driver who had an infant in her car when she crashed into another car, put her car in reverse, and drove away with two wheels on the sidewalk, crashing into a pole. Her blood alcohol level was .19 and she plead guilty to DWI with a child passenger, receiving five years’ probation
Why Let Drunk Driving Off So Easy?
The prosecutors behind these decisions have noted that there are plenty of restrictions in place when it comes to monitoring defendants like these, such as suspending their licenses or mandating ignition locks with breathalyzers. They explained that the goal is to keep families together and offer restorative justice.
Are These Drivers “Ticking Time Bombs”?
According to the investigation report, there have been dozens of drivers who got off easy while having previous alcohol or drug-related cases. For example, one driver was engaged in all of the following activities in the course of one year:
- Being found intoxicated and lying in the roadway;
- Five months later, being arrested for DWI with a child passenger; and
- Seven months later, being arrested for driving drunk with a child in the car.
Houston Drunk Driving Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a drunk driver here in Texas, contact our Houston drunk driving accident attorneys at The West Law Office today to find out how we can help.