Texas DUI Laws, Penalties and Records
In Texas a driver can be stopped if he or she shows any sign of impaired driving. The charged driver is asked to take a field sobriety test. On showing poor results the driver is arrested and taken to the nearest police station or the office of the county sheriff. The chemical test to determine blood alcohol content is taken there. As per Texas DUI regulations, the legal limit of BAC is 0.08% or lesser at the time of arrest or in two hours of alcohol consumption. After the arrest, legal and administrative actions are taken accordingly.
Refusing to take a chemical test is also an offense which results in immediate suspension of driving license for 6 months. Also there will be additional revocations both by Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) and the court once you are proved guilty. So it is recommended not to refuse to submit to the test as this can go against you during the court hearings.
Texas DUI Records
There are six different kinds of driving records in Texas. These records hold information on status, history of last three years, list of accidents and violations, and abstract. Driving history and list of accidents are of two types- ordinary and certified. The list of accidents and violations is the record of DWI. If you order for ordinary Texas DUI records, you will need to pay $7, if ordered through postal order, and $7.50, if ordered through email. The fee of certified copy of the record ordered through post is $10 and online is $12. To order your request for driving records, go to https://www.texasonline.state.tx.us/tolapp/txldrcdr/TXDPSLicenseeManager.
To order Texas DUI records via postal mail, download and print a DR-1 request form. You can get this form at http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/ftp/forms/dr-1.pdf. Enclose a check or money order of appropriate fee and send it to Driver Records Bureau, Texas Department of Public Safety, Box 149246, Austin, TX 78714-9246. If a third party, that is, other than the license holder requests for the record, it would need an authorizing letter for the release of information. An employer can use this same DR-1 request form to get the driving report of an employee.
You can also check the status of a driving record request from the authorities. To do this you need to sent a status check request to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Attn: D.R.B./Driver Records, 5805 North Lamar, Austin, Texas 78752, Fax: (512) 424-7285.
DUI Laws and Penalties
The DUI convicts in Texas undergo two kinds of charges- criminal and administrative. For the criminal charges, convict appears before the court, and faces the penalties in terms of imprisonment, probation, revocation of license, community service and/or monetary fine. Administrative charges are heard in MVD. The penalties given by this department include license suspension, determining eligibility for restricted permit, counseling or alcohol education program.
For the first offense of DUI in Texas, minimum imprisonment period is three days. This is a B Class misdemeanor where the driver is fined for maximum $2000. License is suspended for one year by attending education classes, this tenure can be lowered down. First time offenders are eligible to apply for occupational license to commute to and from office and home. If there is any open container of liquor is found, then it is also regarded as Class B misdemeanor and the imprisonment term is six days.
There is no Zero Tolerance Law applicable for first DUI conviction. The occupational or restricted licenses are issued to only those who have been sentenced for rehabilitation or assessment programs. If any driver has been issued a restricted permit in last ten years, he or she cannot apply for one upon TX DUI conviction. Vehicle is not impounded or immobilized by the court. There is mandatory community service for twenty to hundred hours and a twelve hour long DWI Education Program has to be completed.
If a driver commits the offense within ten years, then it is treated as Class A misdemeanor. The minimum jail time to be served by a second time offender of Texas DUI is seventy two hours which cannot extend more than a year. The driver is fined for an amount no more than $4000. The license is revoked for six months to two years.
If DMV thinks that the convict needs occupational license, it may issue one. All second offenders of drunk driving must attend Repeat Offender program. In this case also, jury determines about probation but community service of at least eighty hours is compulsory, but in no condition it can exceed 100 hours.
The third offense of DUI in Texas is a Felony of 3 rd Degree. So, the incarceration period of the third offenders is a minimum of two years which can extend up to ten years. License is suspended for two years and it becomes mandatory to get an ignition interlock device installed in the car. The car is neither impounded nor immobilized.
There are different laws for commercial vehicle drivers and under-age drivers as well. If a commercial vehicle is driven with BAC 0.04% or higher than that, it will be considered DUI. Similarly, if an under-age driver i.e. below 21 is found driving with 0.02%, it is DUI because according to beverages law of Texas, 21 is the legal age to be allowed to drink.
Driving with BAC 0.08% or more when there is a minor in the car is a felony offense too. If DUI causes intoxication assault that is bodily injuries, then even the first time offense becomes third degree felony and thus driver may end up in jail for minimum two years with a fine of $1000. And if DUI causes death, it is a Second Degree felony.
In language of insurance industry, you will be labeled as high-risk driver especially if you are a re offender. Insurance is affected when you are charged for TX DUI. This is one of the reasons that a Texas DUI record check is conducted.