What are the Penalties for DUI in Houston?

If you’re caught driving under the influence in Houston, Texas, you’ll be facing some pretty stiff penalties. The law purposely makes the punishment for DUI harsh. It is such a dangerous offense, the courts and law enforcement do whatever they can to prevent it. Given the strict penalties, most people are deterred from driving drunk.

Regardless of how strict the laws are, some people drive drunk anyway. People make mistakes. Perhaps you thought you were okay to drive and you weren’t. Or, your designated driver left you and there was no other way home. Either way, if you are arrested and charged with DUI in Houston, you should contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Houston. They can try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. They can also work hard to keep the penalties down to a minimum.

What is the Law for DUI in Texas?

In Texas, if you’re pulled over and the cops suspect you’ve been drinking or using drugs, you may be arrested for DUI. It depends on how the cops interpret your behavior. If you appear to be impaired, the officer will ask you to perform a field sobriety test. They’ll probably also ask you to take a breathalyzer.

Texas is like almost every other state when it comes to DUI. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .08, you will be arrested for DUI. For commercial drivers, this the threshold is even lower at .04.

Underage drivers – people under the age of 21 – will be charged with DUI if their BAC is anything above 0. Since it’s illegal to drink in Texas until you’re 21, you can’t have any alcohol in your system at all when you’re pulled over.

What are the Penalties for DUI?

The first question most people charged with DUI ask is – what can happen to me? This is a good question. Unlike other traffic violations, DUI carry potential jail time. They also carry fines and a mandatory suspension of your driver’s license.

Here is a breakdown of the DUI penalties in Houston, Texas:

  • 1st Offense: If you’re charged with your first DUI, you face the following penalties:
    • Up to 180 days in jail
    • Fines of up to $2,000
    • Suspension of your license for 90 days
  • 2nd Offense within five (5) years: If you’re convicted of a second DUI within five years of your first DUI, the penalties are more severe:
    • Up to one (1) year in jail
    • Fines of up to $4,000
    • Driver’s license suspension for 1 year
  • 3rd Offense: If you manage to get convicted of your a third DUI within five (5) years, you will be facing the following penalties:
    • Anywhere from 2-10 years in jail
    • Fines of up to $10,000
    • Suspension of your license for a period of one (1) year

If you’re caught driving drunk or high with a child under the age of 15 in your car, these penalties are enhanced. In order to keep children safe, the courts in Texas impose the following penalties on people convicted of DUI with a child in the car:

  • 180 days to 2 years in jail
  • Fines of up to $10,000
  • Suspension of your license for at least 1 year

Are the Penalties Different for Commercial Drivers?

Because people have their CDL actually drive for a living, it’s important that are sober when they operate their trucks. This is why the laws are so strict when it comes to commercial drivers who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you have your CDL and are convicted of DUI, you face all of the above penalties. You will also face the following:

  • 1st Offense:
    • One (1) year suspension of your CDL
    • If you’re driving hazardous materials, the suspension will be three (3) years
  • 2nd Offense:
    • Permanent suspension of your commercial driver’s license

Since there is so much at stake, it’s really important that you have an experienced DUI lawyer in Houston handle your case. You don’t want to handle this yourself if you don’t have to. You could end up losing your job. You may even have to find a whole new career.

Contact an Experienced DUI Lawyer in Houston, Texas

If you’ve been charged with DUI in Houston, you will be facing some pretty harsh penalties. There is no rule that says you have to hire a lawyer to handle your case. However, it’s a good idea to do so.

Contact an experienced DUI lawyer in Houston at Eddington & Worley today. They will review your case and see what you’re up against. They’ll also reach out to the prosecutor and try to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

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