Texas Pilot Convicted of DWI Four Times
The pilot of the hot air balloon that abruptly crashed 30 miles south of Austin and sadly killed all 16 people on board was previously convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) a staggering four times.
Alfred "Skip" Nichols, 49, was identified as the pilot by his friend and roommate Alan Lirette, who said that Nichols was a good pilot. After "Skip's" DWI arrest in 2000, the Better Business Bureau formally warned consumers about doing business with the balloon touring company he operated in the State of Texas.
A common misconception of driving while intoxicated (DWI) laws in Texas is that they only apply to a people driving cars. However, a person that is operating an airplane, helicopter, hot air balloon, or even a boat or Jet Ski, could be charged with DWI.
Though the facts surrounding the hot air balloon tragedy are still under investigation, it is human nature to prematurely condemn a person involved in an accident such as this. Retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney is crucial because they could help mitigate the consequences associated with a DWI offense and ensure your story gets told accurately.
If you have been arrested for misdemeanor DWI, felony DWI, DUI, driving under the influence, boating while intoxicated, or flying while intoxicated in Dallas, Fort Worth, Denton, Collin, or anywhere in North Texas, it is important that you contact an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney to help preserve your case.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy have extensive experience representing clients accused of driving while intoxicated in North Texas. Facing criminal charges can be a stressful experience and could drastically alter a person's future. Call the The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 233-5700 or submit an online form if you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both, to receive your free consultation.
What does "Intoxicated" mean in Dallas, TX?
According to Texas Penal Code 49.01,"intoxication" is when a person does not have their normal use of mental or physical faculties because of alcohol consumption, the use of a drug, or the combination of both substances, or the person has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
A person's loss of their "normal use of mental or physical faculties" can be displayed by several different factors. Some of the characteristics law enforcement officers look for prior to making a DWI arrest are:
- Slurred Speech,
- Poor Balance,
- Loss of Coordination and Motor Skills,
- Loss of Memory,
- Disorientation or Abnormal Confusion, and but not limited to,
- Slowed Reaction Time
What does DWI mean in North Texas?
Pursuant to Texas Penal Code 49.04, a person has committed the offense of driving while intoxicated if the person was intoxicated while they were operating a motor vehicle in a public place.
A common misbelief of Texas DWI laws is that they only apply to people driving cars. However, a person who is flying while intoxicated or impaired while operating a watercraft can also be charged with a DWI. These vehicles include, but are not limited to:
- Airplanes (Texas Penal Code 49.05)
- Helicopters (Texas Penal Code 49.05)
- Hot Air Balloons (Texas Penal Code 49.05)
- Boats (Texas Penal 49.06)
- Jet Skis (Texas Penal 49.06)
What Enhances a DWI Offense in Texas?
Pursuant to the Texas Penal Code, the State has been granted authority to enhance the punishments of a DWI conviction based on the circumstances surrounding the person's arrest. Some of these factors include:
- Defendant has a Prior DWI Conviction(s),
- Defendant was Driving with an Open Alcohol Container,
- Defendant's BAC registered 0.15 or higher,
- Defendant Had a Passenger Under the Age of 15 in the Vehicle ,
- Defendant Destroyed Property While Driving Intoxicated, and
- Defendant Injured or Killed a Person While Driving Intoxicated
What are the Consequences for DWI in Dallas-Fort Worth?
A DWI conviction can be very costly for several reasons. Being convicted of a DWI offense in Texas could harm a person's reputation and could prevent the person from acquiring certain employment opportunities. Some of the general consequences of a DWI conviction in Texas include:
- First DWI Conviction(without enhancing factors):
- Class B misdemeanor
- Fine up to $2,000
- A minimum of 3 days in jail, up to 180 days in jail
- Suspension of License for up to 2 Years
- Possible Ignition Interlock System installed on all vehicles owned
- Second DWI Conviction (without enhancing factors):
- Class A Misdemeanor
- Fine up to $4,000
- Suspension of License up to 2 Years
- Ignition Interlock Device Installed in All Vehicles Owned
- Third DWI Conviction(without enhancing factors):
- Felony to the Third Degree
- Fine up to $10,000
- Prison sentence of up to 10 years
Experienced North Texas DWI Attorney – Dallas County, Texas
Time is crucial when facing criminal charges and failing to retain an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney could result in severe consequences. If you have been arrested for Misdemeanor DWI, Felony DWI, DUI, DWI with an open container, DWI with a child passenger, boating while intoxicated, or flying while intoxicated, contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 233-5700 to receive your free consultation.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy serves clients in Dallas, Denton, Collin, and Tarrant Counties, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Arlington, Crowley, Grapevine, and surrounding areas.
Photo Credit: CNN