When you are stopped because a law enforcement officer believes you are driving under the influence, you will be asked to submit to a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer test. While the courts have recently reviewed Texas’ implied consent laws and deemed the forcing of a blood test to be unconstitutional, sobriety tests can still be used against you in court. Refusing field sobriety or Breathalyzer tests may result in the requirement to attend a hearing at the Department of Transportation. Failure to attend that hearing could result in your license being suspended for 180 days; even if you are not convicted of a DUI.
Since 2003, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has been authorized to assess points against drivers who are cited for any traffic violation. These points are then used to place a surcharge on drivers, in return for maintaining their license. For example, a conviction on a speeding ticket, where there was no accident, will result in your being assessed two points. If the accident involves a collision, you will be assessed three points. Accumulation of six points means you are going to pay an annual fee of $100, until such time as the six points are reduced. Points are reduced by maintaining a clean driving record, and/or taking a driver safety course. While $100 may seem steep, if you are convicted of a DUI, you will be paying 10 times that amount.
Immediately upon your arrest, you should be aware that the minimum jail time for a conviction is three days. The statues read as follows: ”Sec. 49.04. DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED .(a) A person commits an offense if the person is intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle in a public place. (b) Except as provided by Subsections (c) and (d) and Section 49.09, an offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, with a minimum term of confinement of 72 hours.“ (section 49.09 is for habitual offenders). Since three days may not seem like a particularly harsh penalty, many drivers do not take a DUI arrest very seriously. However, you could actually be facing jail time of up to one year for a first conviction, and the cost of your surcharge is going to be $1,000 per year for three years. Failure to pay this surcharge will result in your license being suspended.
Jail time and onerous fines are concerning enough, but you will have additional concerns if you are convicted of a DUI charge in Texas. Keep in mind, you will have a criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life, unless you have the record expunged. Having a record, even for a misdemeanor charge, could impact your ability to secure employment and find housing. This is why it is important to work with a criminal defense attorney who will have one goal in mind: To have the charges against you reduced or thrown out altogether.
Oftentimes, drivers believe if they are arrested for drunk driving it is difficult to fight the charges, particularly if they submitted to, and failed, a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer test. What you may not understand is that these tests are flawed, and there are plenty of opportunities to question whether the results are accurate, which could result in the prosecutor having no case against you.
Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your DUI arrest, you should contact the Hill Law Firm at (713) 352-1572. We are here to help, and your initial consultation with us is free. Do not try to fight these charges alone; let us provide you with the legal assistance these charges demand.