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License Suspension

State Legislators Seek to Eliminate Driver Surcharges

By Peek & Toland on April 20, 2019

Texas state legislators have introduced companion legislation in the state Senate and House to abolish the Driver Responsibility Program, which imposes significant driver surcharges related to traffic violations that drivers often cannot afford to pay. Drivers who fail to pay the required surcharges have their licenses suspended after 105 days of non-payment.

State Legislators Seek to Eliminate Driver Surcharges

Repeal of the Driver Responsibility Program leaves a $144 million loss in funding for the state’s trauma hospitals. These bills suggest some different funding options for trauma hospitals, which currently are supposed to be funded by driver surcharges. More specifically, the bills would seek funding for trauma hospitals in the following ways:

  • Increases automobile insurance policy fees by $2.00, 60% of which would go to trauma hospitals
  • Diverts funds from a vehicle registration fee
  • Increases state portion of some traffic fines from $30 to $50 and decreases municipal portion from 5% to 4%, 30% of which would go to trauma hospitals

Additionally, existing driver surcharges for those convicted of DWI would remain the same, except they would be characterized as “fines” rather than “surcharges.” They would be in the same amounts as the surcharges, and 30% would fund trauma hospitals. These “fines” would be in addition to the statutory fines that judges impose for DWI convictions.

One major drawback to the pending bills is that there is no amnesty program or means of eliminating surcharges still owing under the Driver Responsibility Program. While these bills may be helpful for many drivers moving forward, it does nothing to assist the 1.4 million estimated drivers who have had their licenses suspended due to a failure to pay surcharges. Plus, the vast majority of unpaid surcharges are not attributable to public safety issues, like surcharges assessed for DWIs. Rather, most surcharges are for traffic offenses such as driving without insurance. The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including charges involving bribery. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf in order to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys today.

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What Are the Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License?

By Peek & Toland on April 5, 2019

Your license becomes suspended when your driving privileges are taken away temporarily pursuant to Texas law. After a six-month or one-year suspension, depending on the circumstances, you can fulfill certain conditions in order to have your license reinstated and regain your ability to drive. Some of the most common reasons for a suspended license are:

·         DWI or DUI

·         Leaving or fleeing the scene of an accident

·         Driving without insurance as required by law

·         Committing multiple traffic violations

Although your license may be suspended, you still are likely to have to go to work, school, and doctor’s appointments. This causes some people to take the risk of driving with a suspended license. Various factors determine the level of the charge and resulting penalties for a conviction for driving while suspended. For example, if you are pulled over for speeding, and the police officer discovers that your license is suspended, you will receive a speeding ticket that requires you to pay a fine, as well as a $500 fine for driving without a valid license.

What Are the Penalties for Driving with a Suspended License?

If you are caught repeatedly driving with a suspended license, the offense becomes a Class B misdemeanor offense. Conviction on a Class B misdemeanor can result in up to 180 days in jail and a maximum fine of $2,000. Driving without a valid license and without insurance also is a Class B misdemeanor charge, as well as driving while your license is suspended for a DWI.

Driving while suspended becomes a Class A misdemeanor if you injure someone in the process of driving without a valid license. This offense can result in a $4,000 fine and up to one year in the county jail.

If you or a family member is facing any type of criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.

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Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearings in Texas

By Peek & Toland on February 8, 2019

The Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Program is civil process operated by the Texas Department of Public Safety (TPS). ALR comes into play when individuals refuse or fail to take a blood or breath test following an arrest for either driving while intoxicated (DWI) or boating while intoxicated (BWI). Under the ALR program, individuals who refused chemical testing can face an automatic driver’s license suspension for a period of 90 days to two years, depending on the circumstances. For individuals who hold commercial driver licenses (CDL), the penalty is a one-year license suspension.

After a driver or watercraft operator refuses to undergo chemical testing of their blood alcohol content (BAC) levels after law enforcement requests them to do so, they receive a notice (usually on the same date of their arrest) stating that that their driver’s license will be suspended if they fail or refuse to take a BAC test. The law enforcement officer handling the arrest will take the individual’s driver license and issue them a temporary driving permit that remains in effect until the suspension goes into place.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearings in Texas

After receipt of the suspension notice, they only have 15 days from the date of the notice to request an ALR hearing in order to contest the suspension. If they fail to request a hearing, the license suspension becomes effective on the 40th day following the date of the notice.

Assuming that the driver requested a timely ALR hearing, DPS will send notice of the hearing within 120 days. The driver must appear in front an administrative law judge (ALJ), who will hear evidence from both sides and later issue a written order. If the ALJ finds in favor of DPS, the order will suspend the individual’s license, and if not, the license will not be suspended.

For adults, a license suspension for failing or refusing to take a chemical test results in a 180-day license suspension for a first offense. However, if adult drivers previously refused a chemical test or have a prior conviction for DWI, intoxication assault, or intoxication manslaughter within the prior ten years, the suspension period increases to two years.

If you find yourself charged with any type of criminal offense, you need legal advice that only experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys can offer you. As the consequences of any criminal conviction may be severe, you should immediately contact a skilled defense lawyer for help if you have been accused of a criminal offense. Peek & Toland provides strong legal representation on a regular basis for individuals who are charged with various crimes. It is our priority is to represent your interests and protect your rights. Call us at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment to speak with us today.

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