Best DUI Lawyers Houston, TX Of 2024 – Forbes Advisor – Forbes

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Driving under the influence (DUI) starts as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, but it can become a Class A misdemeanor based on the level of a driver’s intoxication and a felony if there are any passengers in the vehicle who are under 15 years of age. Under the DUI laws in Texas, it is prohibited for any individual to operate a motor vehicle, which includes a car and boat, under a detectable amount of alcohol for any individual. Your levels of intoxication will be measured to determine if you are over the acceptable limit of alcohol in your system.

Understanding the general guidelines of DUI laws will give you a perspective on what to know and where to start should you need to find a DUI lawyer in Houston.

Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) in Texas

You may be curious to know how much alcohol is considered too much or beyond the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in Texas. For an individual who is 21 years or older, a BAC level over .08% is considered over the legal limit. You will be charged with a DUI in Texas if your BAC level is over .08%.

A BAC of 0.15% is considered an “enhanced” BAC, and you will face harsher penalties including larger fines, a longer suspension of your driver’s license privileges, and possibly mandatory minimum incarceration.

Also, zero tolerance laws apply to individuals who are younger than 21 and are found to be operating a motor vehicle. The BAC level for a Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA by a Minor) and any detectable amount of alcohol will result in a DUI charge.

Implied Consent Laws in Texas

Implied consent laws apply all across the country. In Texas, implied consent generally means that an individual who is operating a motor vehicle on the roads and freeways automatically agrees to consent to have their BAC levels measured by an officer. If a law enforcement officer finds probable cause (reasonable grounds) to stop a driver for suspected intoxication, the driver must submit to this test. Officers are required to tell drivers that the BAC test is mandatory, and refusal to comply will lead to consequences.

If your BAC level is higher than .08% or you refuse to take the BAC test, your license will be automatically suspended and you lose your right to drive.

If you consented to a BAC test and the results indicate a BAC level of .08% or higher, the Texas Department of Public Safety will send you a license suspension notice by mail. From the time you receive this mailed notice, you’ll have 20 days to request a hearing. If you do not request this hearing within the designated period, your suspension will become effective 40 days after it is presumed you received the notice.

On the other hand, if you refuse to undergo a BAC test, your driver’s license will be immediately confiscated, and you’ll be issued a temporary driving permit. You’ll have a 15-day window to request a hearing to contest the impending license suspension. If you fail to initiate this hearing within the specified timeframe, your suspension will take effect 40 days from the date you were served with the suspension notice.

Aside from the administrative license suspension, it’s important to note that you will likely face criminal charges, and if convicted, you’ll be subject to additional penalties.

DUI Penalties in Texas

Under Texas DUI laws, individuals may face criminal penalties if a prosecutor successfully proves their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a drunk driving trial. Penalties can escalate significantly for repeat DUI offenders.

The following illustrates the potential repercussions of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Texas:

First Offense:

  • Fine: Up to $2,000
  • Jail Time: 3 to 180 days
  • License Suspension: Up to 1 year

Second Offense:

  • Fine: Up to $4,000
  • Jail Time: 1 month to 1 year
  • License Suspension: Up to 2 years

Third Offense:

  • Fine: $10,000
  • Jail Time: 2 to 10 years
  • License Suspension: Up to 2 years

Additionally, individuals convicted of DUI may be required to undergo drug and alcohol counseling, install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle, or fulfill other court-imposed obligations.

Furthermore, in certain situations, individuals may face additional penalties beyond the standard consequences set by Texas DUI laws. For instance, if an impaired driver has a child under the age of 15 in their vehicle, they could be charged with child endangerment.

Child endangerment related to impaired driving can lead to extra penalties, including a fine of up to $10,000, an additional jail term of up to two years, and an extended suspension of driving privileges for an extra 180 days.

What to Expect After a DUI Arrest in Texas

If a police officer has probable cause to stop you for suspected intoxication operating a motor vehicle or boat, you will be required to take a BAC test under the implied consent laws. If you refuse to take the breath or blood test or your BAC returns higher than .08% you will lose your right to drive.

If you refuse to get tested for your BAC level, your license will be revoked immediately and you will be issued a temporary driving permit. You have 15 days to request a hearing regarding your license suspension. If you don’t request this hearing, your license will be suspended 40 days after you were served notice of the hearing.

If your BAC level registered as .08% or higher, you will receive a notification through the mail regarding your license suspension. You have 20 days from the receipt of notice suspension to request a hearing. After 40 days of the receipt of the notice the license suspension will go into effect.

After arrest, you may be booked and face additional penalties if convicted.

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