A Guide To Understanding Texas Zero Tolerance Law

A Guide To Understanding Texas Zero Tolerance Law

Texas, like many states, has severe penalties for individuals who drive while intoxicated (DWI) and for a good reason. Nearly half of all DWI crashes in Texas involved an injury to either the driver or another person. Over a thousand people in Texas died in DWI crashes in 2017 alone.

When it comes to minors, Texas has a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence. Again, this is for a good reason.

Despite being a lower proportion of the population, individuals who were under 21 at the time of the accident made up a total of 64 out of the 944 deaths in 2017. As such, underage drivers can face up to 10 years in prison for repeated violations of the state’s zero-tolerance laws.

The Zero Tolerance Law

Texas has specific alcohol-related laws for minors. Under state law, it is illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to possess, purchase, or consume an alcoholic beverage.

For non-driving offenses, violation of this law is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by fines, community service, alcohol education, and driver’s license suspension.

However, when people talk about Texas’s zero tolerance law, they are usually referring to DUI charges involving a minor.

It is illegal for any individual under the age of 21 to drive a car or other motor vehicle on a public street while there is any detectable level of alcohol. Also, Texas punishes minors under its zero-tolerance law for piloting watercraft under the influence of alcohol. 

Detecting Violations

While drivers over the age of 21 must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of more than 0.08%, that limit does not apply to minors. Instead, the standard for individuals under 21 is the mere presence of any detectable level of alcohol.

This means any alcohol detected by any means (including a breathalyzer or blood test) may result in a DUI charge for a minor. Additionally, according to Randall Isenberg, founding partner of the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, “An officer may arrest a minor under the zero-tolerance law in Texas if he or she smells any alcohol on the driver or in the vehicle.”

Police officers in Texas have the right to stop any vehicle where there is either reasonable suspicion or probable cause that the driver is committing a driving offense.

If the officer then makes an arrest, state law requires minors under its implied consent laws to submit to either a breath or blood test, which is determined by the officer.

A failure to comply with a chemical test can result in jail time and a license suspension of 180 days for the first offense and two years for any additional violations.

Penalties for Violating the Zero Tolerance Law

Penalties for minors found violating Texas’ zero tolerance law vary based on the age of the individual at the time of the incident.

Drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 face penalties based on driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). Between the ages of 17 and 21, drivers may instead face charges based on driving while driving intoxicated (DWI) at the discretion of the police officer or be charged with a DUI.

DUI by a Minor

The penalties for an individual between the ages of 16 and 21 vary based on how many times the person has been charged for the offense. The penalties include:

First offense:
This is a Class C Misdemeanor, requiring between 20 and 40 hours’ worth of community service, a fine of up to $500, and a license suspension between 60 and 180 days. The minor and their parents at the judge’s discretion must also attend an Alcohol Awareness course.

Second offense:
A second offense remains a Class C Misdemeanor, but some of the penalties increase. The community service range rises to 40 to 60 hours. The license suspension may now range from 120 days to two years.

Third or subsequent offense:
After the second offense, a violation of the DUI by a minor statute becomes Delinquent Conduct by Minor for 16 –21years of age offense. On top of the penalties for a second offense, third and subsequent violations of the DUI by a minor law can result in probation or being committed to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

DWI by a Minor

For drivers between the ages of 17 and 21, the penalties can be more severe, and at the discretion of the police officer, they may decide to increase the charge to DWI instead of DUI.

First offense:
This is a Class B Misdemeanor, which may result in a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence between three and 180 days.  Drivers also face a one-year license suspension but may have it reduced to 90 days with community supervision and the installation of an ignition interlock device.

Judges do not have the discretion to waive the jail sentence or license suspension. However, if your first offense DWI has a blood or breath score higher than 0.15, you will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor with potential jail time.

Second offense:
A second offense is increased to a Class A Misdemeanor. The fine may now be up to $4,000. The required jail sentence is increased to between 30 days and one year, while the license suspension is now between 180 days and 18 months.

Third and subsequent offenses:
a third DWI by a minor is a Felony of the Third Degree. The potential fine for this offense could reach $10,000.

Drivers convicted of a third DWI by a minor will spend between two and ten years behind bars at a Texas state prison. Their driver’s license will also be suspended for a period between 180 days and two years. 

Charging Minors as Adults

To strengthen its laws and dissuade underage drinking and driving, Texas state law also allows minors to be tried as adults for DWI offenses.

This may be used in cases where considerable harm is done to another person, such as when a minor driver causes a car crash. In the case of a DWI crash causing the death of another person, Texas may choose to try a juvenile as an adult for intoxication manslaughter, which carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Legal Rights & Resources for Veterans

Legal Rights & Resources for Veterans

As a veteran, you are proud to let the whole world know that you served your country. Unfortunately, the effects of your service can sometimes take their toll on you.

Old war injuries can linger and make it difficult for you. Of course, there are many legal rights and resources you have that you may not be aware of.

First of all, it is important to note that our veteran disability advocate professionals are going to work to help you to receive some potential benefits possibly.

These would include such possibilities as Total Disability Individual Unemployability (TDIU).

As a disability advocate lawyer, we realize there is nothing more critical to the status of your claim than obtaining an evaluation that is favorable to your case.

Unfortunately, the VA has some physicians at their disposal, and to say they are biased against veterans and that they play favorites for the government would be an understatement. We have seen many reasonable veteran claims for benefits denied.

However, as VA disability lawyers, we are experienced in “leveling the playing field” and have won countless appeals for the veterans we represent.

For a veteran, it is essential to understand the ramifications of a favorable determination of eligibility for this benefit.

This means that he or she is entitled to 100% of the TDIU benefit if they can conclusively determine their disability was service-connected and prevents them from obtaining and maintaining substantially gainful employment.

This often means $3,000 per month or even more if the veteran has dependent children.

VA disability lawyers also exist to help veterans clear up any misconceptions they might have about obtaining benefits.

For example, many veterans believe that they must meet a certain disability percent threshold of 60% before they are eligible to receive benefits. This is not the case.

There is also a misconception that exists among veterans that if they are currently working, they are not eligible.

Again, this isn’t necessarily the case. It all depends on whether their employment meets the VA threshold of “substantial gainful employment.” If the veteran’s job does not rise above the federal poverty line, then more often than not he or she is still eligible.

Moreover, there are even some cases where a veteran could be working above the poverty and still be eligible as long as they are in “sheltered” employment.

This is a job where the veteran works for a business, is self-employed or is in a position where they cannot be fired.

Of course, the best way to sum it up is that if the veteran has a disability incurred from their service and it prevents them from getting or keeping a job, then chances are they are entitled to the TDIU benefit.

As you can tell, the VA does not make it easy for veterans to get this benefit. This is why we as VA advocates exist. We love the privilege of fighting for our veterans to have a better life. And Learn more about nursing home abuse and your right here: https://www.nursinghomelawcenter.org/nursing-home-in-america.html

Call us today for a consultation on your case!

What You Must Prove in an Auto Accident Injury Suit

What You Must Prove in an Auto Accident Injury Suit

When you have been involved in an auto accident and sustained significant injuries, from a legal stand point, it’s the person who caused the accident who will be held responsible and they are required to compensate you for any damages to your body as well as your car.

It’s however noteworthy that these suits are usually not open and shut cases because the burden of proof will mostly fall on the victim. This essentially means that it’s upon you to prove that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident as a result.

We are therefore going to briefly look at what you must prove in an auto accident injury suit.

You must prove that it was the driver’s duty to be cautious

Reason dictates that once you are behind the wheel, it becomes your responsibility to ensure that you don’t endanger other road users be they motorists or pedestrians. Legally speaking however, it must be demonstrated in a court of law that the person behind the wheel actually had the responsibility of safeguarding other motorists.

You must demonstrate negligence

Once you have been able to convince the court that the responsibility to be cautious indeed fell on the driver, you must now prove that it was through their negligence that they caused the accident. This will require providing evidence such as pictures, video or witness statements showing the driver ignoring traffic lights, a stop sign, a speed limit sign and so on.

You must demonstrate that your injuries were a direct result of the accident

The court will not just take your word that the injuries you sustained were a direct result of the accident, you must produce evidence to demonstrate this. Such evidence will include photos or video from the scene as well as the doctor’s statement.

Once you have been able to prove all these in front of court the next step will be for you to demonstrate to the court the monetary value of these injuries so that it can be determined what you are actually owed.

Law – 4 Ways to Protect Your Claim When in an Auto Accident

Law – 4 Ways to Protect Your Claim When in an Auto Accident

Anytime you are involved in an auto accident that was the result of negligence by another motorist and the accident results in either injuries or damage to your property, you must act very fast to ensure that you protect your claim. This is because the defendant will do everything within their power not to pay up.

There is a couple of ways you can protect your claim and in this article, we are going to look at 4 ways you can do it.

1. Ensure that the police is involved

It’s advisable that if ever you are involved in an auto accident ensure that you immediately call the police to the scene. This is mainly for documentation purposes because the police will record and even investigate the incident and this becomes evidence you can produce in court.

2. Document the accident scene

If you are fortunate enough not to suffer very serious injuries, you must ensure that you document the accident scene through taking photos, videos and even contact info of potential witnesses. If you are not in a position to do this on your own, you can request the people at the scene to do it for you and ensure you have their contact info.

3. Seek the services of a personal injuries lawyer

Personal injuries lawyers are lawyers who have specialized in injury claims and they will therefore guide you through the process of filing your suite and arguing your case on your behalf in court. They are very experienced in such matters therefore you should always follow their advice.

Find out more info on personal injury lawyers specializing in car accidents here: https://www.rosenfeldinjurylawyers.com/car-accidents.html

4. Your claims must be reasonable

It’s unwise for you to try and make exaggerated claims because they will make you come off as disingenuous and this may negatively affect your entire case. Restrict yourself to making claims for damages and injuries that you actually incurred and that you can prove.

If you take all these measures diligently, you will have taken great strides towards positioning yourself for a successful legal battle.