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Protect Your Rights with a Bryan & College Station Personal Injury Lawyer

1716 Briarcrest Drive, Suite 300

Bryan, TX 78501

(979) 803-0000

Regardless of circumstances, driving while under the influence of alcohol is a crime in the State of Texas and is the leading cause of fatal traffic accidents. Despite these facts, many Texans have repeatedly driven while under the influence of alcohol and thus exposed themselves and their fellow citizens to the risks of severe injury or death. On this page, the personal injury accident lawyer at the Doan Law Firm of Bryan and College Station will review how Texas criminal and civil law deal with the problem of injuries and deaths caused by intoxicated drivers and then briefly touch on the legal options that may be available to the victims of “drunk driver” accidents and their families.

The Law

The Texas Penal Code makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle “… in a public place …” if the driver does not have “… the normal use of mental or physical faculties by reason of the introduction of alcohol, a controlled substance, a drug, a dangerous drug, a combination of two or more of those substances, or any other substance into the body; OR (b) having an alcohol concentration of .08 or more.”

The Penal Code also makes it a crime under Texas law to:

  • Driving while intoxicated poses a significant risk to the health and safety of Texas residents. Therefore, a law was passed making it a crime to drive while intoxicated.
  • A diver, with full knowledge that driving while intoxicated is both a crime and poses a risk to others, elects to drive despite meeting the legal definition of intoxication and subsequently causes an accident.
  • The driver, merely by ignoring state laws against drunk driving, has committed an act that is negligent per se and can be held liable for any damages that are a consequence of the ensuing accident.

It is important to remember that negligence can occur even if there is no violation of criminal law or breach of administrative regulations.

Liability Issues and Drunk Drivers

Texas civil law has adopted the legal doctrine known as negligence per se, which holds that any action that is contrary to state law or a violation of the regulations published by a state administrative agency is sufficient to support an allegation of negligence.

This concept, as it applies to the liability of intoxicated drivers for injuries that they may cause, runs as follows:

  • Driving while intoxicated poses a significant risk to the health and safety of Texas residents. Therefore, a law was passed making it a crime to drive while intoxicated.
  • A diver, with full knowledge that driving while intoxicated is both a crime and poses a risk to others, elects to drive despite meeting the legal definition of intoxication and subsequently causes an accident.
  • The driver, merely by ignoring state laws against drunk driving, has committed an act that is negligent per se and can be held liable for any damages that are a consequence of the ensuing accident.

As you might expect, avoiding liability for an act that is negligent per se is very difficult!

In Texas, Alcoholic Beverages Commission regulations prohibit any organization or place of business such as a college fraternity, bar, restaurant, or lodge hall (e.g. “Elks Club”) from selling or serving alcohol to someone who is obviously intoxicated or who is underage. If they do so, and the person served later causes an accident resulting in injury or death, both the organization and the individual server(s) can be held liable for damages.

Situations where such illegal sale or service may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sale or service of alcoholic beverages to a minor, or to knowingly purchasing alcohol on behalf of a minor
  • Sale or service of alcoholic beverages to non-members of a private club

To support a claim of contributory negligence against a business or organization that may have sold alcohol to an obviously intoxicated person or to a person who was under the legal age to consume or possess an alcoholic beverage, an accident lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts surrounding each case.

This investigation will usually include:

  • A re-creation of the accident itself by accident reconstruction experts
  • Interviews with witnesses regarding the defendant’s actions and behavior in the hours prior to the accident
  • Security camera footage of any businesses or establishments the defendant may have visited that will document the defendant’s presence and general physical condition
  • Statements by any medical professionals who examined the defendant after the accident
  • Statements by any medical professionals who examined the defendant after the accident
  • Copies of any medical testing that may bear on the defendant’s sobriety at the time of the accident

With this evidence at hand, a personal injury attorney will be able to fully advise a client on the merits of a lawsuit as well as offering his or her opinion on the likelihood of the lawsuit’s success.

Why hire a Bryan, TX personal injury lawyer

In this article, the personal injury lawyer at the Doan Law Firm of Bryan and College Station has briefly explained the driving while intoxicated/impaired laws of Texas and how these laws can be used to establish liability for injuries sustained at the hands of intoxicated drivers and the places that served or sold alcohol to such people prior to an accident.

Since it is impossible to cover every situation where alcohol intoxication caused or contributed to an injury, we would like to invite anyone who has been injured in an alcohol-related accident to contact the Doan Law Firm of Bryan and College Station at (979) 803-0000 or by the “Contact Us” forms located on this web site to arrange a free, no obligation review of your case and an explanation of the options that may be available to accident victims and their families.

The Doan Law Firm 1716 Briarcrest Drive, Suite 300 Bryan, TX 78501 (979) 803-0000

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