Drinking and driving is never a smart mix, even if you aren’t drinking excessively. Unfortunately, it happens in Texas more often than in many other states, with statistics placing Texas at #11 in the United States for incidents related to driving under the influence. Regardless, if you are pulled over for a DUI in Texas, you should know your rights, and what you should and shouldn’t do to help yourself.
Your Rights If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI
- If a police officer asks you questions such as: “How many drinks have you had?” “What bar were you at?” or so forth, then you should know you don’t have to answer. You have the right to ask that your attorney be present before answering any questions.
- You do not have to give permission for a police officer to search your vehicle. The police officer cannot search your car without your consent.
- You can refuse to take a breathalyzer test. However, there are consequences to doing this. Your driver’s license could be suspended, or you could be arrested immediately. As an alternative, you could say that you will not take a breathalyzer without your attorney. Many Texas DUI attorneys say that given the choice between a breathalyzer test and a blood test, take the breathalyzer because the results are more easily challenged in court than a blood test.
- If the police officer asks you to take a field sobriety test, you can tell them that you will not do so without your attorney present. There isn’t any statute that has a penalty for refusing to take a field sobriety test. A field sobriety test is subjective, and the police officer on the scene will be the judge and jury as to whether or not you pass or fail.
What You Should Do If You Are Pulled Over for a DUI in Texas
When a Texas police officer pulls you over for a possible DUI, you should follow these steps:
- Be polite. Being rude or making a scene could be considered suspicious behavior. One of the best things you can do is to remain calm and be respectful. Remember, you are on camera, so any rude or unusual behavior can and will be used against you.
- Be willing to give some information. You should provide the officer with your name, driver’s license, and proof of insurance. However, as stated above, you do not have to answer leading questions meant to get you to admit to drinking and driving.
- Get out of the car if asked. Don’t forget you are on camera and any actions or comments could be used against you in an incriminating fashion.
DUI Conviction Penalties in Texas
If you are convicted of a DUI, it can have an enormous impact on your life. If this is your first time being convicted of a DUI in Texas, you could receive any or all of the following penalties:
- A fine up to $2,000
- A jail sentence anywhere from 3 to 180 days
- Suspension of your driver’s license for a period up to 2 years
- Mandatory participation in a DWI/DUI education program.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Implementation of surcharges up to $2,000 for you to keep your driver’s license, lasting for a period of up to 3 years
These penalties become harsher if you’ve had previous convictions or are convicted of a DUI again in the future. Needless to say, a DUI is a serious crime that can have long-lasting consequences on your life, career, and financial situation.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI or DWI in Texas, then it is essential to understand the severity of the charges. You must seek the services of an experienced drunk driving lawyer like those at Fears Nachawati.
You don’t want just any attorney. You want an experienced drunk driving attorney who will fight to ensure that your rights are protected and will help you navigate the complicated legal process ahead. In order to schedule your free, no-obligation legal consultation, please call (866) 705-7584 or visit one of our offices located throughout the state of Texas, including in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Austin.