There are many bad driving habits that make the roads a greater hazard today than they were even just a few short years ago. Where driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is still a major problem in the United States, distracted driving practices have risen to the top of the list, causing more serious injuries and accident fatalities. Even these two concerns are enough to prompt law enforcement to crack down on bad drivers, but that’s not to say they’re the only offenses that can result in legal trouble for a negligent driver.
On September 1, the state of Texas joined other states in the country by enacting new distracted driving laws. The new law outlines restrictions against using electronic devices in particular, though distracted driving is essentially anything that takes the drivers hands off of the steering wheel, eyes off of the road, or thoughts away from the task of driving. Brushing your hair, fidgeting with the radio, and eating food are all common distracted driving practices, though using smartphones is quickly becoming the most common distracted driving activity.
If you’ve been ticketed under this new law and require a Williamson County Attorney for Traffic Offenses, contact The Jackson Law Firm at your earliest convenience. The state takes distracted driving cases as seriously as DWI arrests, so this is no trivial matter. Even a first offense constitutes a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $99. Those who have previously been convicted of distracted driving can expect a fine as high as $200.
This all presumes that the ticket isn’t the result of an accident. If an accident is involved and caused serious injury or death to another, the distracted driving conviction can carry a fine of up to $4,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year. These penalties, of course, are in addition to a civil lawsuit that may be launched in the event your distracted driving acts were the cause of the accident.
While the Jackson Law Firm is available to handle your case, if you were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the Cedar Park Attorney for Traffic Offenses should be contacted as early as possible. A DUI charge is serious, even as a misdemeanor charge, but the charge can quickly escalate in cases where other mitigating factors are present.
For instance, you may be charged with aggravated DUI, if you were ticketed for committing another traffic infraction, while also driving under the influence. Excessive speeding, driving with a minor in the vehicle, and driving on a suspended or revoked license are all determining factors in bringing a charge of aggravated DUI and can even result in a felony DUI charge.
Even a first DUI offense with a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .15 with no mitigating circumstances is punishable by a fine as high as $2,000 and a jail sentence for as many as 180 days. The court may also suspend your driver’s license for up to one year. The penalties rise with the number of incidences and Texas law allows for three strikes. For the third offense, the defendant may expect to be fined as much as $10,000 and be incarcerated for two to 20 years. Additionally, your driver’s license can be suspended for up to two years. As a felony conviction, this would also bar the individual from voting or possessing firearms.
As any Williamson County Attorney for Traffic Offenses can attest, this type of infraction is different from distracted driving, though a case could be made that distracted driving is one form of reckless driving. The Jackson Law Firm can help defend those accused of reckless driving, which the state defines as “driving with willful or wanton disregard” for safety rules and showing no concern for the consequences of such driving. In most cases, the driver has either caused an accident or property damage or has been driving in a manner unruly enough to attract the attention of law enforcement. Examples of reckless driving include driving at excessive speeds (25 mph or more over the posted speed limit), racing another vehicle, attempting to elude police, or illegally passing another vehicle.
In spite of harsh penalties for DUI and distracted driving, a study conducted by WalletHub found that Texas is less strict when it comes to reckless driving. In fact, Texas is the most lenient state in the country, when it comes to these kinds of infractions. While 25 mph over the speed limit is considered reckless, Arkansas and Louisiana have a lower tolerance of just 15 mph over the legal limit.
Additionally, while many cities in Texas explicitly prohibit racing on public roads, there is no such state law. There are also no speed cameras on Texas roads to help enforce safe driving practices.
Penalties are more lenient too. In Texas, minimum jail time and license suspension aren’t mandatory for a first time offender. While those first-time offenders are fined up to $200, other states issue fines between $500 and $1,000. The state of Washington shows the least tolerance, fining first-time reckless drivers as much as $5,000.
Even so, any fine or jail sentence isn’t to be taken lightly and your defense should take priority. Before considering what a guilty plea may mean, you may opt to consult a Round Rock Attorney for Traffic Offenses, someone capable of analyzing your specific situation and determining your best course of action. The Jackson Law Firm operates throughout the area, dealing with any number of traffic offenses, so rest assured they have the expertise and knowledge of the law to obtain the best possible outcome for your case. From DUI and distracted driving to driving on a suspended license or without auto insurance, the lawyers at the Jackson Law Firm have seen it all. In looking at your options, you’re sure to realize they’re the best Williamson County Attorney for Traffic Offenses, so place your case and your future in their trustworthy hands.