According to most lawyers, when people are pulled over by the Houston Police Department, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, or other Houston, Texas area law enforcement agency, they are grossly unaware of their civil rights leaving themselves susceptible to police abuse, or even worse, making them their own worse enemy when it comes to fighting DWI related criminal charges in the court of law by utter disregard of their 5th Amendment right as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. Its sad, but it happens.
Fortunately, fine institutions like H-Town Legal are here for the people and are available to help educate the people about their legal rights when it comes to police encounters.
Knowing how to handle police encounters is especially important if you are pulled over on the suspicion of DUI. Any lawyer in Houston will tell you, knowing your rights can help you win at trial in the event that you need to floor arguments for your defense.
Why People Get Charged With DWI Offenses
There are a number of reasons why people get themselves into situations in which they can be arrested for a DWI, but the main reason they are arrested is irresponsibility. Regardless of how “little you thought you had to drink”, or how short you felt your driving distance was, the main cause of being arrested for driving while intoxicated is human irresponsibility. Some people can’t handle their liquor, nor their attitude.
The most immature adults among us would rather blame their failure on extraneous circumstances rather than taking responsibility for their alcoholic ingestion habits and the law is it relates to impaired driving. When these two concepts collide, it usually results in an arrest for the citizen which will lead to courtroom litigation.
Rights of Houston Drivers
When searching online for a list of drivers rights, I found the inspiration to write the following list from closely reading the website of The Offices of Tad Nelson and Associates, also known as “The Nelson Firm”, and ofcoarse you know I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if we didn’t share it with our valued readers.
Texas Driver’s Rights
When you get stopped you have the right to:
- Refuse to answer questions about where you are coming from or going to.
- Refuse to answer questions about whether you have been drinking.
- Refuse to answer questions about medical conditions.
- Refuse to answer questions about medicine you are taking.
- Refuse to answer questions about whether there are drugs or alcohol in your vehicle.
- Refuse to grant CONSENT to search your vehicle.
- Refuse to take any field sobriety tests.
- Refuse to take a portable breath test.
- Refuse to empty your pockets.
- Refuse to unlock any sealed or locked container or compartment of your vehicle.
What you have to do
If you get stopped there are certain things you are required by law to give the police officer. You must provide the officer:
- Your name and current address.
- A copy of your vehicle registration.
- A copy of your proof of insurance.
- A copy of your driver’s license.
Provide this information to the police, but politely refuse to answer any other questions.
Punishment for DWI Convictions in Houston
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, right along with any criminal record that you may have, the criminal classification of your criminal DWI offense will either fall under a misdemeanor or felony classification. Obviously a felonious criminal offense will have far more severe consequences than a misdemeanor case, but either charge, if convicted, will have detrimental affects on you for a lifetime. One being a second offense, any time in the future, may result in a felony charge. Below, we go over a few of the criminal penalties for a person unfortunate enough to get busted driving drunk of Texas streets and highways by law enforcement.
For people arrested for the crime of driving while intoxicated for a 1st time, the potential penalty is from 3 days in jail, up to a possible jail sentence of six months. Another penalty is drivers license suspension which can be hell if you have to use a vehicle to commute to and from work or school. This Draconian drivers license suspension can last from 3 to 12 months.
Last but not least, is the possibility of a fine of up to 2,000.00.
In most cases, 1st time DUI’s are misdemeanor offenses.
The stakes are higher for 2-time DUI offenders in the state of Texas. If you are busted for a second time for driving while intoxicated you can be sentenced to a jail term of anywhere from 30 days to 1 year in jail. A year in jail would be inhumane to most, but get caught drinking and driving twice, and convicted both times, and you’re facing a year in jail.
The fines don’t show a sense of love either. The situation is even worse when you take into account that the fine is double that of 1st offense fines capping out at 4,000.00. Added to that, is the fact that the license suspension gets real, lasting anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
A second offense DWI is a state jail felony offense.
Three-time DWI offenses are serious felonies in the eyes of the people, and the criminal justice system of Texas. A 10 year sentence in the state penitentiary becomes a life changing possibility if you are arrested and convicted of a DUI offense for the third time. The fine rises to 10,000.00 dollars, and the drivers license suspension period remains at 6 months to 2 years. Seriously though, who cares about a 2 year drivers license suspension when they are sitting in the penitentiary for 10 years with Bubba on their ass?
Talk With a DWI Lawyer in Houston
Looking for a the best Houston DWI Lawyer can be a tough task when considering you’ve just bailed out of jail and have to deal with the bail bondsman, have to explain any absence from work to your superiors, and have to deal with the pressures of everyday life coupled with an upcoming court date which could be impending doom depending on the outcome. This is why its more important than ever to make sure you have a smart attorney on your side who has experience defending the rights of people who have been accused of drinking while driving in Houston, Texas.
We recommend Houston DWI Attorney Tad Nelson as he has over 20 years worth of experience, is a member of the National College of DUI Defense, and has been board certified as a expert in criminal law per the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. In life, its rare to have an opportunity to meet an actual scientist, but if you hire Tad Nelson as your DWI defense lawyer you’ll do just that; meet a human biochemistry scientists. In fact, attorney Tad Nelson is one of only a handful of certified ACS Chemist practicing DUI defense law in the United States of America.
The Law Offices of Tad Nelson and Associates operates 3 offices in the Houston area. One is in Houston, the other is in Galveston, and the main office is in League City, Texas. Be sure to look up Tad Nelson & Associates online, or simply call 1-888-765-6514 to talk with a board certified Houston DWI lawyer if you need a defense attorney to represent you in the court of law.