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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
States and localities are getting tougher on people who drive while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you or a family member is facing these kinds of charges, you should get advice from an Abilene DUI lawyer with experience representing individuals who have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI). Being charged with DUI is no small matter. The possible penalties are a lot harsher than they were a few years ago, even for first offenders. A skilled criminal attorney can build a solid defense for you.
Texas DUI Laws
In Texas, a driver of a motor vehicle is considered under the influence of alcohol if a chemical screening test shows a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher. No other evidence (such as field sobriety tests) is necessary to get a DUI conviction.
A driver who is less than 21 years old must not test positive for any blood-alcohol content (BAC) at all. Such a driver may be charged with DUI, even if the amount tested is under 0.08 percent. A driver testing 0.15 percent or more over the legal limit of 0.08 percent faces more severe penalties for enhanced BAC. A first-offense DUI will result in a fine, at least. Those fines rise quickly for second and third offenses.
Range of Punishments
That is only the beginning with regard to potential penalties, which may also include:
- License suspension or revocation
- Points on one’s driving record
- Payment of restitution
- Ignition interlock device
- Restricted driver’s license
- Mandatory community service
- Jail time
The other consequences of DUI convictions are also substantial. Most citizens’ lives would be greatly limited if their ability to drive a car would be rescinded, even if only temporarily. Getting to work or taking care of children could be very difficult.
Going to Trial
The first decision the defendant has to make is whether to fight the charges outright or try to plea bargain. Lawyers who have extensive experience in DUI cases will be able to evaluate the evidence the police have, and give an honest assessment of what the most prudent course of action will be.
Every American, no matter what the charge, has certain rights that must be respected by the judicial system. These include the right to an attorney and the right to confront the state’s witnesses against them.
A DUI case usually begins with a preliminary hearing, followed by a formal arraignment, a pre-trial conference, and, if necessary, a trial. An experienced Abilene DUI attorney can help guide a person through these requirements.
What Constitutes Evidence in DUI Cases?
A key question in any DUI case is – what is the evidence against the driver, and whether that information is admissible in court. Evaluating the admissibility of the evidence requires looking at all the circumstances of the arrest. Why was this driver singled out by the police? Did the police have probable cause to think a crime was being committed? Maybe there was racial profiling involved.
The breathalyzers administered by the police have sometimes been challenged. The devices used by the police sometimes have problems of accuracy, which can be caused by mechanical failure or by a police officer’s mistake. With the penalties now so stringent, any person accused of DUI has the right to challenge any tests that might not be accurate.
Speaking with an Abilene DUI Lawyer
If you are facing DUI charges, you should get advice from an Abilene DUI lawyer who has successfully defended individuals against such charges many times before. Abilene lawyers may have the experience necessary to craft a solid defense for you. Work with a skilled legal advocate who can work diligently to fight for you.