If you are arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence) in Texas, it can be a confusing and overwhelming experience. A conviction can have short and long-term consequences and impact your personal and professional life.
Immediately after your arrest, a question you may have is if you can still drive or if your driver’s license has been suspended. At Burkett Law Firm, our experienced DUI attorneys in Corpus Christi understand the laws and how to help protect your rights.
Understanding Texas DUI Laws
In Texas, DUI (Driving Under the Influence) is defined as operating a motor vehicle in a public place while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08% for drivers aged 21 and over and any detectable amount for those under 21. This law reflects Texas’ commitment to road safety and its zero-tolerance stance against impaired driving.
Penalties for DUI Offenses
The penalties for a Texas DUI charge vary based on the severity of the offense and the driver’s history. For a first offense, penalties can include fines up to $2,000, jail time from 3 to 180 days, license suspension for up to a year, and an annual fee of $1,000 or $2,000 for three years to retain the driver’s license. Subsequent offenses result in harsher penalties, emphasizing the state’s strict approach to repeat offenders.
Implied Consent Law
Texas enforces an “implied consent” law, meaning that if you drive in Texas, you automatically consent to chemical testing of your blood or breath if arrested for DUI. Refusal to comply can lead to automatic license suspension and is often used as evidence in DUI cases, further underscoring the serious nature of DUI charges in Texas.
The Legal Process
Once charged with a DUI in Texas, you’ll enter a legal process that involves both administrative and criminal proceedings. The administrative process deals with your driving privileges, while the criminal process addresses the DUI charge itself.
Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program
Under the ALR program, your license can be suspended if you’re arrested for a DUI and either fail or refuse to take a blood or breath test. This suspension is separate from any criminal charges and can occur before your DUI case is resolved in court.
Duration of License Suspension
The duration of the suspension depends on several factors, including your previous driving record and whether you refused or failed the sobriety test. Typically, a first-time offender faces a suspension of 90 days to a year. The suspension period could be longer for repeat offenders or if you refused the sobriety test.
The Role of a DUI Attorney
Navigating the complexities of a DUI charge in Texas requires the expertise of a knowledgeable DUI attorney in Corpus Christi. An experienced attorney can guide you through the legal process, help you understand your rights, and work to minimize the impact of the charge on your life.
Legal Expertise and Guidance
A DUI attorney can help you navigate the complexities of DUI charges. With specialized knowledge of Texas DUI laws, they offer expert legal advice, ensuring clients understand their rights and the legal process. Their expertise is crucial in interpreting the law and developing a strategic approach to defense.
Case Evaluation and Defense Strategy
Upon taking on a case, a DUI attorney conducts a thorough evaluation to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s position. They scrutinize every detail, from the traffic stop’s legality to the sobriety tests’ accuracy, aiming to construct a robust defense strategy. This approach is essential in challenging any procedural errors or questionable evidence the prosecution presents.
Negotiation and Representation
DUI attorneys are skilled negotiators, often working to secure plea deals that minimize penalties. They represent their clients in all legal proceedings, advocating and striving to achieve the best possible outcome. Whether it’s arguing for reduced charges, lighter sentencing, or complete dismissal, their advocacy is a critical asset in the face of DUI charges.
Occupational Driver’s License (ODL)
If your license is suspended, you may be eligible for an Occupational Driver’s License (ODL). This restricted license allows you to drive to essential places like work, school, or household duties. Your DUI attorney in Corpus Christi can assist in applying for an ODL, ensuring you maintain driving independence.
Applying for an ODL
Obtaining an ODL involves a court process where you must prove that the lack of a license causes extreme hardship. Your attorney will help prepare the necessary documentation and represent you in court.
After the Suspension Period
Once your suspension period ends, there are steps to reinstate your license. This typically involves completing court-ordered programs, paying a reinstatement fee, and providing proof of insurance. Your DUI attorney can guide you through these steps to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.
Understanding How to Keep Your License After a Texas DUI Charge
Facing a Texas DUI charge is a challenging experience, but with the right legal support, it’s possible to navigate this complex process. Whether it’s fighting for your rights in court, applying for an Occupational Driver’s License, or simply understanding the implications of the charge, the DUI attorneys at Burkett Law Firm in Corpus Christi are equipped to provide the guidance and representation you need.
Remember, a DUI charge doesn’t have to define your future. With the right approach and expert legal assistance, you can work towards a resolution that minimizes its impact on your life.
If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge in Texas, don’t hesitate to contact Burkett Law Firm for expert legal advice and representation. Our experienced DUI attorneys in Corpus Christi are here to help you through every step of the process.