Many people are under the mistaken belief that violations of the law while driving are all petty offenses or Class C misdemeanors, meaning you will never see a day in jail. Though that is generally true with traffic violations per the Texas Transportation Code (e.g., texting while driving), it is not true when the violation is a crime outlined according to the Texas Penal Code. There are serious offenses committed while operating a vehicle, and these driving offenses can lead to serious time in jail and/or steep fines and fees.
At Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C., it is our mission to defend people charged with driving offenses. You may be innocent of the charge or you may be a person who simply made a mistake and want a second chance. Doug Murphy believes that you deserve a strong defense, and so he is committed to developing your best defense under the circumstances by reviewing the facts of your case, challenging the State on each element of the alleged crime, and putting forth a defense strategy that weakens the State's case against you.
Doug Murphy believes strongly in fighting the charge and not settling with the prosecutor because the latter almost always results in a criminal record and a criminal record can cause you a lot of problems in life with finding a job, obtaining housing, qualifying for a loan, among other consequences that follow a criminal record. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today to discuss your case with a criminal law specialist and to learn more about what your options may be if you have been charged with a driving offense.
What are common driving offenses in Texas?
Common driving offenses in Texas can involve a number of different situations. The following are some of the offenses Doug Murphy represents on a regular basis.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
Driving while intoxicated is an offense in Texas taken seriously by the State of Texas. You are illegally intoxicated by alcohol if:
- You appear not to be in control of your faculties;
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is over 0.08% for most drivers;
- Your BAC is over 0.04% for commercial drivers (CDL holders); or
- Any detection of alcohol for minors.
You can also be arrested for drugged driving if:
- Your over-the-counter or prescription medication causes you to lose control of your faculties; or
- You have any amount of a controlled substance or marijuana in your system.
DWI offenses can be misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the facts and circumstances of your case.
Hit and Run
Under Texas law, drivers who hit a person or property are required to stop and give information and render aid if anyone was injured. Failure to do so can lead to criminal charges. Hit and run offenses are defined under several different statutory provisions. Charges are dependent on the facts and circumstances of the case. The different ways this offense can be charged are as follows:
- Hit and Run with Property Damage to a Vehicle. Under Texas Penal Code Ann. § 550.022, it is a criminal offense to leave the scene of an accident involving property damage to a vehicle. You are required to stop your vehicle and remain at the scene until you have provided certain identifying and insurance information to the other property.
- Hit and Run with a Parked Car. Under Texas Penal Code Ann. § 550.024, a driver who strikes a parked car must stop and make an attempt to find the owner of the car. If the owner is not found, the driver must leave a note on the car providing the driver his or her name and contact information.
- Hit and Run with Unattended Property. Under Texas Penal Code Ann. § 550.025, a driver who hits and damages unattended property (i.e., a fence or lamp post) must take reasonable steps to find and notify the owner of the property and to provide contact and insurance information to the owner or person in charge of that property.
- Hit and Run with Injury or Death. Under Texas Penal Code Ann. § 550.021, a driver who causes an accident that results in bodily injury or another person must stop and render aid. This offense is the most serious of all the hit and run offenses.
Evading arrest is an offense governed by Texas Penal Code Ann. § 38.034. Evading arrest occurs when a person intentionally and knowingly flees from a police officer or other Texas peace officer who was lawfully attempting to arrest or detain him or her. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, this offense could be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony.
Reckless driving is governed by the Transportation Code §545.401, which defines the offense as one where a person drives a vehicle “in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This definition is fairly broad and can include things like speeding, texting and driving, and/or running a traffic light. These offenses can be charged as Class B misdemeanors (though some are charged as Class C misdemeanors).
Are there administrative and criminal processes for all driving offenses in Texas?
In most circumstances, if you are charged with an offense and it pertains to driving, then you risk losing your driving privileges either by license suspension or revocation as part of your sentencing or dependent on the number of points accumulated on your driving record. It does not mean, however, that you will have to endure both an administrative hearing and criminal procedures.
The administrative hearing, also known as the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing, is available to persons arrested on DWI or BWI charges. These persons must request an ALR hearing within 15 days in order to argue before an administrative judge why he or she should retain his or her driving privileges. It is always to your benefit to have a Board Certified DWI attorney represent you in an ALR hearing because :
- it acts as the initial investigation into your DWI case; and
- a Board Certified DWI attorney in Texas knows the process and the arguments that will best benefit you.
Without your driving privileges, your quality of life can be affected to your detriment, so it is in your best interests to fight the license suspension with a smart defense strategy as developed by your DWI attorney.
The criminal process is a separate process. For any of the above-listed offenses, you must endure the criminal process. Having a DWI and criminal defense attorney representing you is key to the successful outcome of your case. But again, the same applies here: you want a Board Certified legal attorney. Board certification is an objective process applied to determine and testify to an attorney's capabilities in and outside the courtroom. Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas attorneys who is simultaneously Board certified in DWI defense and Board certified in criminal law. So, if quality, smart representation by Houston's premier DWI and criminal defense attorney matters to you, contact Doug Murphy Law Firm, P.C. today.
Contact a Board Certified Driving Defense Attorney in Houston, TX Today
If you have been charged with a driving offense, contact Houston's best DWI and criminal defense lawyer today. Doug Murphy is a seasoned attorney who believes each of his clients deserves the best criminal defense possible. Not only is defending yourself your Constitutional right, but it is also the best means to a dismissal before trial and acquittal at trial. Contact Doug Murphy online or at (713) 229-8333 to learn more about his approach to driving defenses today.