First-Time DWIs And Major Crimes: How This Tends To Roll

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First-time DWI offenses are easily dismissed and/or punished less harshly than repeat offenses when you have a DWI lawyer working for you. However, if you are charged with much more serious crimes in conjunction with your first DWI, it is not going go quite so well for you. Here is how things are going to roll, and why.

DWI and Property Damage

There is limited leniency on cases involving both DWI and property damage. You may or may not get "a slap on the wrist" for the DWI, but then you will still be held accountable for the property damage. If you attempt to appear in court on these charges without a lawyer, you will get the full brunt of the punishment as applicable under the law in the state in which you reside. You may also be sued by the person or persons whose property you damaged.

DWI and Bodily Injury

Even though this is your first DWI, if you injure someone as a result, it is considered "vehicular assault." It is a very serious offense, one which often puts people in jail for the minimum required sentence by law. With a lawyer, you may get house arrest, but that depends on the judge and how many people were injured as a result of your decision to get behind the wheel while intoxicated/under the influence of drugs.

DWI and Death

This is as serious as it gets. If you kill someone while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, jail time is in your future. There is no leniency for people who are charged with DWI and death. It may be pronounced a homicide, or "vehicular manslaughter." If the judge decides the former, your penalty will be quite harsh. If your lawyer successfully argues for the latter, you will still get jail time, but you will spend less time incarcerated. 

On All Counts, You May Be Sued by Others

The victims of crimes, or the families of the victims, are free to sue the offender. This means that your DWI woes do not end with your DWI offenses and punishments. The victims and the victims' families can, and probably will, sue you. If you are in jail, the families may file lawsuits, but wait to pursue their cases until you are out of jail. These issues are likely to follow you for a decade or more when major crimes accompany a DWI.