DUI Law in Houston, TX

What Is a DUI?

DUI, which refers to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a criminal offense that can lead to weighty consequences. Also known as DWI, the process of going to court to face either conviction or exoneration can change the course of your life forever.

Learn more about your DUI law defense options below, and then talk to a local attorney in Houston, Texas who will help you in this delicate situation. You don’t have to stare down consequences alone. You can take wise steps today to protect your interests.

Possible Consequences of a Houston, Texas DUI Conviction

Where you live, the severity of the incident, and your criminal record determine the sentencing for a DUI. The punishments can drastically increase if you have had previous DUIs, so be mindful of that. If this is your first DUI, do not go at it alone and risk costly mistakes. Get a Houston law firm on your side to fight for you and your rights.

Paying Fines

If convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Houston, Texas, you can count on fines being a part of your sentencing. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, your first DUI in Texas can result in up to a $2000 fine. Subsequent DUIs can carry fines as high as $10,000. In addition, Texas courts can assess additional yearly fines of up to $2000 for several years following your conviction.

However, other factors can drastically increase the amount you must pay, including:

  • Any damage to property while driving under the influence
  • If someone suffered injuries as a result of your intoxicated driving
  • Cases that include child endangerment
  • Any court costs associated with your case

Jail Time

Jail time is mandatory, even for first-time offenders in . If this is your first DUI offense, you may only have to face a day or two in prison. But if you have previous convictions for DUIs, you can be sentenced to several months or years, depending on the nature of the crime. Know that some circumstances can add even more time in a cell, including injury to other people while driving under the influence.

Probation

If you do not face jail time, you will likely be on probation, with the sentencing judge determining the duration. You will pay monthly fees, and you cannot commit any more criminal offenses, including traffic violations. If you violate the terms of your probation, count on facing time behind bars.

The terms of a DUI probation in Houston can include fines, DUI education, and community service. Additionally, you can be prohibited from drinking any alcohol and may have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. Violating the terms of your probation can result in the probation being revoked, potentially landing you in jail. There are five Community Supervision reporting locations in Houston, and you may also be able to contact your probation officer online.

Drug and Alcohol Education Program

Following a Houston DUI sentencing, the law states you must complete a drug and alcohol education program. This will teach you about the dangers of driving under the influence. These programs cost more fees besides the legal costs you already have to pay.

If you are convicted of a DUI in Texas, you may be required to attend an educational program approved by the Texas Department of Licensing and Registration. There are 51 approved providers in Houston, and some classes may be available online. The course for first time offenders is 12 hours, and costs around $125. However, the multiple offender course is 32 hours, and costs $300.

The education programs also include a DUI evaluation. An evaluator asks you questions about how alcohol and drugs affect your life. If they believe that you are dependent, you may have to enter a substance abuse treatment program.

Suspension or Loss of License

No matter where you may face a DUI conviction, you have to undergo a license suspension period, at the very least. If it is your first DUI, you may have a license suspension for a few months while you go through probation and the drug and alcohol education program.

If this is not your first DUI, you may have your license suspended for much longer, or you could have it taken from you permanently.

What Should You Do When Charged With a DUI in Houston, Texas?

If you’re facing a felony DUI charge, you must take the following steps to protect yourself:

Step 1: Contact an Attorney Familiar With Houston, TX DUI Law

Immediately following your DUI arrest, you need to contact an experienced Houston DUI attorney. Your attorney can help prepare for your arraignment and prepare a defense to vindicate yourself or reduce the sentencing.

Step 2: Learn About Your Local DUI Laws

Houston, Texas has unique laws for DUI or DWI charges. Your lawyer will work with you to help you better understand your state’s laws on driving while intoxicated. It is critical to understand what charges you face and the potential outcomes of your case. 

Step 3: Request a DMV Hearing

You or your attorney should request a hearing as soon as possible following your arrest. In Houston, Texas you only have so much time to ask for a DMV hearing to keep your license until your court appearance. If you do not request a hearing, prepare for a license suspension.

A DUI arrest in Texas results in an automatic driver’s license suspension of anywhere from 90 days to 2 years. However, you have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing with the Texas Department of Public Safety. You can apply for the hearing online, and you may be able to request that the hearing be conducted by phone. In-person hearings in Houston are held at The Preserve at North Loop.

Step 4: Prepare for Court Appearance

You and your attorney will prepare for your appearance and arraignment in Houston. If you plead “not guilty,” your DUI defense attorney represents you in court, and a judge and jury oversee the DUI law case.

Step 5: Receive Sentencing or Exoneration

You will either be “not guilty” of the charges brought against you and walk free, or you will receive sentencing for a guilty verdict.

Work with an Experienced Local DUI Lawyer in Houston, Texas

Should you ever find yourself charged with a DUI, you need to work with an experienced Houston, TX lawyer who can stand up for you in court. You cannot clear your name of the charges or reduce the consequences without help. Your life and future depend on having great legal representation during your DUI case. Contact an attorney near you today. We can even help you connect with legal help across Texas state lines.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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