Even as the DWI laws across the nation continue to get more and more stringent, many Texans are nonetheless surprised to hear that a Texas man is potentially facing criminal liability for buying drinks for a woman at a bar. The woman later left the bar, ostensibly after having too much to drink, and drove the wrong way on Interstate 45, crashing her vehicle into a couple and killing them. The question being asked by many Texans is whether the simple act of buying drinks for a stranger at a bar could soon become a crime. The man was identified through video cameras inside the bar.
The state of Texas is well-known for its relatively harsh DWI laws; beginning September 1, the penalty for a hit-and-run fatality will equal that of intoxicated manslaughter. An intoxicated driver who is involved in an automobile accident and fails to stop and render aid would, under current laws, be subject to a third-degree felony which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. The new law will raise that offense to a second-degree felony, bringing the potential sentence to a maximum of twenty years. A second new law can result in up to ten years in prison for those who fail to stop and render aid following an accident with injuries.
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