DWI and DUI in Texas

WhiskeyIt’s never a good idea at any time to drive under the influence of alcohol. But if you or someone you love has, then you need to know what to expect if you get arrested in Texas for driving while intoxicated (DWI) or, if you are a minor, driving under the influence (DUI).

DWI indicates that a driver:

  • cannot safely operate a vehicle due to impairment by either drugs or alcohol;
  • is intoxicated to a level that’s above established DWI standards, as determined by a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) test.

In Texas–which is a zero-tolerance state–you can be charged with DWI even if your blood alcohol level falls below the accepted maximum of .08%.  A first offense for a DWI is a class B misdemeanor. However, if you are arrested with a blood alcohol of .12% or higher, you may face felony charges, particularly if you have been convicted of a DWI in the last 10 years or caused an accident with injuries.

If you are under the age of 21, then getting caught for drinking and driving can result in a DUI charge. For a 1st DUI offense, possible penalties may include a 60-day license suspension, a fine of up to $500, community service and mandatory enrollment in an alcohol awareness program.

If you are under 18, similar penalties apply but a parent or guardian must accompany you at all of your court appearances. If the blood alcohol exceeds the maximum .08%, a court may decide to fine you up to $2000 and impose a one-year license suspension as well as a 180-day jail sentence.

The best advice is not to drink and drive at any time. But if you do and get arrested, then you should seek immediate legal assistance. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm are experts in Texas criminal law and can  aggressively defend your rights. We’re there to stand by you when you need us most!

Photo credit: Suat Eman

 

Wrong-Way Crashes in Texas

Wrong-way crashes are the most dangerous because they involve head-on collisions. In Texas, the number of these kinds of accidents has hit all new highs. A recent CBS DFW online article reveals that in 2011, “[t]he Texas Department of Transportation (TDOT) [found] there were 329 wrong-way crashes statewide…[and that] more than half [took place] in Dallas County.”

A  TDOT study conducted in 2010 showed that alcohol was the common denominator in  nearly all of these crashes. According to one TDOT official, about three-quarters of all the drivers involved in wrong-way crashes were under the influence.

The human toll these kinds of accidents take lingers long after the event itself. One woman named Gwen Edwards who lost her son Louis in a wrong-way crash a year a half ago on Interstate 35 still reports her feelings as, “Anger, yes. I still have a lot…[l]osing a child is a lot different than losing a mother, father, sister or brother.” Louis was just 22 years old and was the only one who perished.

Edwards is still grieving for her son. She has since “turned to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for help and says that more needs to be done to protect drivers on the road.” In her view, “[t]he drunk driving laws keep the drivers safer than [they do] the victim. The laws need to be stiffer.”

This coming September, TDOT will begin to research countermeasures against wrong-way driving. “The main goals will be to identify what methods are most successful in getting the attention of impaired drivers, and finding out which countermeasures are most effective and properly orienting the wrong-way driver for alerting them to the fact they’re going the wrong way.”

These countermeasures won’t help you if you’ve recently been in a car accident, particularly one involving a drunk driver and/or wrong-way driving. At the  Barrera Law Firm, we are ready to fight for your rights in a legal system that too often seems to overlook the pain and suffering of car crashes victims. Let us help you get the settlement you deserve: contact us today!

Protecting the Smallest Car Passengers

Protect your and your child's rightsNobody needs to tell you that children are especially vulnerable when they are riding in automobiles.  But did you know that according to data the National Health and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected in 2008,  motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children between the ages of three to 14?

Unfortunately, the numbers haven’t improved.  So in 2011, the agency updated their child restraint guidelines to curb this trend.  The new guidelines say that manufacturers need to categorize child restraints “by age rather than by type of child seat in order to keep pace with the latest scientific and medical research and the development of new child restraint technologies.”

They also say that parents should make their child restraint choices based upon a child’s height and weight to ensure the best possible fit.  The guidelines further advise that mothers and fathers keep their children in each restraint type before “graduating” them to the next type of seat. The worst thing parents can do is move a child into a new safety device before that child is ready.

While choosing the proper restraint for a child is essential, it’s equally important that parents are careful about how they put their children in the device they’re using. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),  “one study found that 72% of 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could be expected to increase a child’s risk of injury during a crash.”

The Mayo Clinic has observed six mistakes that well-meaning parents often make when putting or securing their children in automobiles. They include:

  •  using child car seats as cribs
  •  being unaware of the potential risks a used child seat may have (it may have been recalled by the manufacturer, for example)
  • placing the child car seat in the wrong position or spot in the car
  • moving a child to a booster seat too soon
  • moving a child to regular safety belts too soon
  • dressing a child in bulky clothing or outerwear that can interfere with the degree of protection harness straps can offer

Your children are dependent on you and the decisions you make. If your child gets injured or worse despite the precautions you take and as a result of another person’s negligence behind the wheel, then you need to act quickly to protect your child’s rights as well as your own. The Barrera Law Firm specializes in car accident, personal injury and wrongful death suits and our attorneys have proven track records of success. When you and your child need expert legal defense, count on us.

Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why You Need a Good Auto Accident Lawyer

Unfortunately, car wrecks are all too common. And if you’re suffering from an injury that you sustained as a result of one, then you need to act quickly to safeguard your health and property. Locating effective legal representation is one of the first, most important steps you can take to help you defend your rights.

Some people believe that it’s best to represent themselves in court. However, the fact of the matter is that doing so is as stressful as it is seldom successful. This is because insurance companies and their defense teams are looking to make sure you get the lowest amount of money for your accident claim and will use whatever tactics necessary to make this happen. When you hire the right attorney, you may be able to recover as much as double or even triple the amount of money than would be possible otherwise.

And experienced auto accident lawyer will carefully review the facts of surrounding your accident to determine how best to move forward. That professional will then attempt to seek damages for all personal injury claims including:

  • brain injuries
  • burns
  • whiplash
  • amputation
  • wrongful death

Such an attorney will also seek reparation for any emotional distress and mental anguish you may have suffered–or may continue to be suffering–as a result of the accident. If you did not cause the car wreck, then you may be entitled to receive compensation for such things as medical bills, loss of earnings and property damage.

The legal professionals at the Barrera Law Firm will carefully scrutinize all aspects of your case including the nature and extent of your injuries to establish the full scope of your accident injury expenses.  Since our number one priority is protecting your rights, you can be assured that we will fight aggressively for you in the courtroom and be available to you whenever you need us.   Contact us today and let us make the law work for you!

Four Things to Consider When Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney

Find the right personal injury attorneyHave you been involved in an accident that has left you injured or otherwise disabled?

Then you need to consult with an attorney who has experience handling personal injury cases.  When you decide to go looking for such an attorney, be sure to do the following four things:

 

  • Find firms that understand your specific kind of case – If you are the victim of medical malpractice or a car accident, then it’s import and to find a firm that has attorneys experienced in the area.  Those lawyers will be up-to-date on all important legal developments and changes in the laws that may affect your case.
  • Meet with more than one lawyer –  Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations so it is to your benefit to schedule an interview with more than one lawyer. Make sure you go in with a pre-prepared list of any concerns and questions you may have. Since you will be working closely with the person you choose, it’s also important to assess each lawyer’s skills and personality and ask yourself which would be the best match for you.
  • Talk to a law firm’s staff –  The lawyer you choose will be working with a team of secretaries and paralegals. They will be the ones who advise your attorney on the progress of your case as well as important deadlines.  Make sure these are people you can trust.
  • Get outside reviews of the firm and its attorneys – Do your homework. The Internet is a great place to start. You may be able to find client testimonials or news bulletins online  that can help you determine whether  a particular lawyer is really right for you.

A personal injury lawsuit can take a while to resolve so you’ll also need to make sure the person you hire will be with you through every step of the process. The attorneys at the Barrera Law Firm are experienced personal injury professionals who will defend your rights and help you claim the award you deserve. We invite you to talk to us today and see for yourself the kind of difference we can make for you.

Photo credits: David Castillo Dominici, Boaz Yiftach
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