Texas Law Cracks Down on Drunk Driving

The Angelina County's attorney's office handles about 30 DWI cases a month. Because of a new law that passed last fall, County Attorney Ed Jones says more drunk drivers will literally pay for their mistakes.

"The legislature passed a statute that (states) someone who is convicted of driving while intoxicated (first offense) will pay the state a thousand dollars per year for (designated fund) trauma services," Jones says. "They also will pay an even higher fee if it's a second offense. That would be $1,000 per year for three years."

That fee goes up to $2,000 if the driver's blood, breath or urine showed an alcohol level of 0.16 or more. Jones says the law is already being put to work. .

The impact that we're seeing is more defendants who are willing to have a trial, rather than plead guilty on their case," Jones says.

This law does not apply to teenagers convicted of drunk driving. Anyone under 17 will not get a fine, but a judge can sentence them to probation and require them to complete an alcohol treatment program. Anyone under 21 caught drunk driving, will have their license suspended for one year.