El Paso, TX

Important Things You Need to Know About the Dangers of Drinking and Driving in El Paso

Tom Handy

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In 2019, El Paso had 691 crashes due to people who were drinking and driving. Of those crashes, there were 18 fatalities. El Paso was the leading city with the number of drunk driving deaths among large counties.

Of the 10,511 people killed in drunk driving accidents, they represented 29% of the driving fatalities.

The headlines continue to mention drivers who crash into a home or kill someone because they were drinking and driving. It is sad to hear about this. Before you decide to drink and drive, there are some penalties you should be aware of.

These penalties could make your life a lot harder if you are ever convicted of drinking and driving. The worst case is you could take away the life of an innocent person.

States have different laws and penalties, and this will take a look at the state of Texas.

In 2019, Texas had 17,751 crashes due to people who were drinking and driving. Of those crashes, there were 473 fatalities.

The leading age for people who were drinking and driving was in the ages of 21-25 years old. They were 22% of those found drinking and driving. The next group was people between the ages of 26 to 30 years old.

In 2016, Texas was ranked as the highest state with the number of people who were drinking and driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving reported there were 1,438 fatalities in 2016.

The year before, Texas passed the all-offender ignition interlock law. This law requires first or subsequent offenders to install an ignition interlock to operate all of their cars while they are under suspension. The offender can also choose to have no interlock under a hard suspension.

"Interlocks reduce repeat offenses by two-thirds and reduce fatalities by 15 percent not just while the device is installed but even later after its removal," MADD said on its website. "It’s a long-term, behavior-changing solution that does not prevent someone from legally driving to treatment or work."

Penalties for drinking and driving in Texas

The legal age to drink and drive is 21 years old.

“-For ordinary, non-commercial drivers, the legal alcohol limit is .08
-For commercial drivers holding a CDL, the legal alcohol limit for driving is only .04 — regardless of whether you’re driving your commercial or personal vehicle.
-Should you get caught with a BAC of .15% or above, your punishment category (normally a Class B misdemeanor) can be bumped up to a Class A misdemeanor”

For most people, to reach a .08 alcohol level that is if they drink two or three drinks per hour. When a person drinks two drinks, they are likely impaired. When a person drinks three drinks, they are likely legally intoxicated.

There are three different levels of offense for drinking and driving.

First offense

  • Loss of driver’s license up to a year.
  • Up to a $2,000 fine.
  • Up to 180 days in jail upon conviction with three mandatory days.

Second offense

  • Loss of driver’s license up to two years.
  • Up to a $4,000 fine.
  • One month to a year in jail upon conviction.

Third offense

  • Loss of driver’s license up to two years.
  • A $10,000 fine.
  • Two to 10 years in prison.

In addition, there is a state fine of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 upon sentencing.

A person drinking and driving with a child under the age of 15 receives an additional penalty.

  • Charged with child endangerment if you're driving drunk with children under 15.
  • Fined up to $10,000.
  • Put in jail for up to two years.
  • You will lose your driver's license for another 180 days.

Over the past decade, there has been little change in the number of drunk drivers in El Paso.

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