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Indictment of Cowboys’ Josh Brent shows stiff DUI penalties
The consequences for driving while intoxicated in Texas vary according to the factors of the case, but the penalties can be stiff.

The Cowboys’ season may be over, but the woes continue for Josh Brent, the Cowboys nose tackle who suffered tragedy in December when he overturned the vehicle he and his close friend and teammate Jerry Brown were in. Brown suffered head and neck trauma from the crash and died. Brent has since been indicted on intoxication manslaughter charges.

Toxicology reports revealed that Brent had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16, which is twice the legal limit in Texas. In a sad twist, a recent autopsy report revealed that Brown had a BAC of 0.056 percent, meaning Brown was legally able to drive.

Brent is currently not in jail, having posted a $100,000 bond. However, he is wearing an ankle bracelet that monitors alcohol consumption and may face jail time in the future.

The accident occurred in the early morning hours of Dec. 8, 2012. The car ran over a curb before it overturned, police reported. There was a bottle of cognac in the car at the time of the crash. Neither Brent nor Brown were wearing seatbelts.

DUI penalties in Texas

The penalties for driving while intoxicated vary according to the factors of the case. A driver arrested for a first-time DUI with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.14 faces a $2,000 fine, up to six months in jail and a driver license suspension of up to one year. The license can be reinstated so that the driver can get to work and other essential functions, but the court does not necessarily have to reinstate the license.

If the driver has a high BAC (0.15 or over) then he or she faces a Class A misdemeanor, the same penalties for a repeat DUI offense. This doubles the fine and potential jail time.

When a tragedy occurs, such as what happened to the Cowboys’ Brent, a DUI becomes a second degree felony. This is the case even when the driver intended no harm and the death occurred to a passenger. Brent is facing two to 20 years in jail if convicted. Other consequences of an intoxicated manslaughter conviction are:

  • The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in order to drive again, which requires the driver to blow into a device to measure BAC before driving
  • A fine of up to $10,000
  • Community service

Probationcan be an option for an intoxicated manslaughter charge. However, there are various conditions that come with probation, including the potential for a judge to order the convicted person to consume no alcohol or drugs and random drug testing by the probation officer.

When facing a DUI charge, it is vital to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer. A conviction can bring severe consequences that last for years, as well as the stigma of having a DUI on record. Those facing any type of DUI charge should contact an attorney to defend their rights and potentially minimize penalties.

Keywords: drunk driving
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