Best DUI Lawyers Fort Worth, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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Driving under the influence (DUI) is against the law in every state. However, just as other laws and penalties change state by state, so do DUI laws. Although Texas has a reputation for having loose alcohol laws, it has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. Here’s information about DUI laws in Texas that all drivers should know.

Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in Texas

The legal BAC for driving in Texas is the same as in most other states: 0.08%. The average person will reach that BAC after drinking between two and four bottles of beer, glasses of wine or shots of hard alcohol. Factors like weight and gender affect the number of drinks needed to reach the legal limit.

Additionally, Texas has a zero-tolerance law for minors. There is no legal BAC for anyone who is under the legal drinking age. If there is any detectable amount of alcohol in their blood, they will be arrested for a DUIA by a Minor.

Implied Consent Laws in Texas

A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. Therefore, the state can revoke a driver’s license even when a driver hasn’t been convicted of a crime. One instance of this is the implied consent laws in Texas.

Many states have implied consent laws. The law in Texas requires drivers to submit to either a blood test or a breathalyzer test after they are arrested for a DUI.

There is a serious consequence for drivers who refuse this test: The state can suspend the driver’s license for 180 days to two years. The suspension is longer if the driver has previously refused a test, failed a test or been convicted of a DWI.

Every driver agrees to these consequences as part of getting a driver’s license. However, drivers can’t be forced to submit to either of these tests without a court order. Additionally, the license suspension can be contested at a hearing before an administrative law judge.

DUI Penalties in Texas

The DUI penalties in Texas are relatively easy to understand. Typically, an offender will receive penalties based on how many previous DUI offenses they have been convicted of. Some penalties also increase if the driver has a BAC of over 0.15%.

Judges have a lot of discretion when assigning penalties. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to have a good DUI lawyer representing you after an arrest.

First DUI Offense

The penalties for a DUI are the least severe after a first offense. However, even for the first offense, jail time is mandatory. The penalties are:

  • Jail Time: 72 hours to six months (the maximum increases to 12 months with a BAC of 0.15% or higher)
  • Fines: Up to $2,000 (the maximum increases to $4,000 with a BAC of 0.15% or higher)
  • Suspended License: 90 days to 12 months
  • Ignition Interlock Device: May be ordered as a condition of an occupational license

A first offense is charged as a misdemeanor.

Second DUI Offense

The penalties for a second offense increase significantly. However, fines are not yet mandatory for this offense. The penalties are:

  • Jail Time: Between 30 days and 12 months
  • Fines: Up to $4,000
  • Suspended License: Six months to two years
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Must install the device for one year after the license is restored if the prior conviction was within five years of this one

BAC level doesn’t matter for a second offense and beyond. A second offense is also charged as a misdemeanor.

Third DUI Offense and Beyond

Once an offender is facing a third offense, the penalties become more severe. Someone convicted of a third offense will spend multiple years in prison. The penalties are:

  • Jail Time: Between 2 and 10 years
  • Fines: Up to $10,000
  • Suspended License: Six months to two years
  • Ignition Interlock Device: Must install the device for one year after the license is restored if any prior conviction was within five years of this one

A third offense and all later offenses are charged as felonies if any of the prior offenses were within 10 years of this conviction. Otherwise, they are classified as misdemeanors.

What to Expect After a DUI Arrest in Texas

If you are arrested for a DUI, the police will read you your rights and book you. As part of the process, they will advise you of your rights regarding the blood test and breathalyzer. Once you have been advised of your rights, you will be asked if you want to submit to either test. You can refuse, but there will likely be consequences for your driver’s license.

You have the right to request a lawyer at any point, and you can refuse to speak to the police without a lawyer present. Your lawyer would prefer you do this because it will make their job easier.

After you have been processed, you will receive a bond hearing. If you are charged with a misdemeanor, this hearing must happen within 24 hours of your arrest. However, if you are charged with a felony, it can take up to 48 hours.

After that, your trial will be scheduled. Many cases never go to trial, though. Typically, attorneys negotiate a plea deal or get the charges dismissed before trial.

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