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No Refusal Weekends in Texas: What They Mean for Drivers

No Refusal Weekends in Texas

Every year as the holiday season approaches, Texas law enforcement makes it their top priority to protect motorists from drink drivers with the introduction of no refusal weekends. No refusal weekends happen in Houston and the surrounding areas as a way to discourage drunk driving by increasing police presence and the presence of sobriety checkpoints in the area.

‘No refusal’ laws in Texas

Texas’ no refusal laws mean that you legally cannot refuse to be rested when pulled over on suspicion of a DWI. In situations when no refusal applies, the drivers are required to comply with it. However, the officer wants to test them. Under no refusal, the officer does not need a warrant to conduct the test.

What are no refusal weekends?

During no refusal weekends, you are subject to implied consent every time you are pulled over on suspicion of a DWI. Implied consent requires drives to submit to chemical testing of their blood alcohol content to test for substances int heir system. Under this law, law enforcement gets to decide which chemical testing method to use. Police can ask you to do a breathalyzer or a blood test. If you are asked to do a blood test, you can choose to do it on your own within 2 hours at a certified testing facility.

Under the implied consent laws, officers can only force you to submit to chemical drug testing if you have two DWI convictions, are in an accident resulting in injury or death, have a prior conviction with a child in the car, or have been convicted of intoxication assault.

Refusing to submit for a chemical test can result in some of the same punishments you would get for the DWI itself. You may have to pay substantial fines, lose your license or face possible jail time if you refuse, or if you are found to be driving under the influence. According to Texas state law, you don’t have the right to contact an attorney before being tested during non-refusal weekends.

Preparing for no refusal holidays

The weeks before a no-refusal weekend, the local counties will begin advertising no refusal dates on TV, radio, and social media. The intention is to dissuade as many people as possible from driving under the influence, especially during times when there is a high likelihood of drinking and driving.

In Texas, there are a handful of specific no refusal weekends that recur every year, including:

  • Memorial Day
  • Fourth of July
  • Labor Day weekend
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Eve/Christmas Day
  • New Years Eve/New Years Day

During the holiday season, between October and January, there may also be no refusal enforced at random throughout that time. There are also other events, including major sporting events or community events that may call for no refusal to be implemented.

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence on a no refusal day, the first thing you should do after the arrest is to contact an attorney for help. Don’t rely on information relayed by the officers or on the internet when dealing with a difficult situation like a DWI. Even though you cannot refuse the chemical test, an attorney will know what to do to make sure your rights are protected and that your best interests are represented.

Contact Christopher T. Gore to find out how he can help you navigate the charges of a DWI and move forward with your life.

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What to Expect During a Standard Field Sobriety Test in Texas

Driving in Texas

You already know that drinking and driving is against the law and a perilous mistake to make. But let’s say for instance, that you are at a company happy hour after work after a few beers and make the decision to drive home afterward. You begin driving erratically, or maybe you just miss a stop sign and are pulled over by a police officer. Your mind may be swimming with uncertainty about what’s going to happen. There are a few specific things you can expect when you are pulled over and suspected of driving under the influence.

First, if the officer suspects that you are under the influence, they will ask if you have been drinking. It’s no use lying in this situation, because regardless of your answer, the officer may ask you to conduct a field sobriety test.

In Texas, there are a few different types of sobriety tests you may be asked to take part in; the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the one-legged stand, and the walk and turn.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

This test, also called the flashlight test, tests your eyes for jerk responses when exposed to a small flashlight or pen. The officer will ask you to use your gaze and follow the object in a straight line while watching your eyesight for jerking motions. They use their judgment to determine if your gaze seems erratic or unfocused. This is not the most accurate test to determine if you are under the influencer and is usually combined with one or both of the other tests.

The One-Legged Stand

If the officer asks you to do the one-legged-stand test, here’s what you can expect. You will be asked to stand on one foot, with the other foot six inches above the ground with your toes pointed and leg straight. The office will likely ask you to count out loud for up to 30 seconds. They may also ask you to raise your arms, hop or switch legs to see how well you respond to the instruction and whether you seem steady, or are showing more signs of intoxication.

The Walk and Run

During this field sobriety test, the officer will ask you to walk about ten steps in a straight line, heel to toe. Then you’ll have to turn on your feet and do it the other way. This test is deceptively simple, but the officers will be looking for indicators that you are intoxicated in how you respond to this test. Some signs they look for include if you can start on their instruction, you count your steps correctly, how well you understand the “heel-to-toe” concept, as well as your overall demeanor during the test.

If at any point, you are placed under arrest, do not resist the officer and remember to remain calm. The next step is to find an attorney who can help get you through your charges. Don’t rely on internet advice to navigate the legal system after a DUI arrest.

You need a qualified attorney who will listen and understand the specifics of your case. If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge in Houston, call Christopher T. Gore at (713) 223-1600. Learn more about how he can best represent your case and help you move forward.

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What to Expect from a First Time DWI/DUI Offense

Fruity Cocktail Don't Drink and Drive

If it’s your first time experiencing a DWI charge in Houston, you’re probably wondering about what’s going to happen next. Once you’ve received your charge, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about potential consequences, penalties, and what to expect when you go to court. Let’s break down the penalties you’ll likely experience after a first-time DWI/DUI offense. 

DWI Laws in Texas 

In Texas, it is considered ‘driving under the influence’ if you are operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher. If you are pulled over and suspected of being intoxicated, you will be asked to give a breathalyzer to determine your BAC. Even if you blow less than the legal limit, you may still be arrested if you are driving erratically, or breaking laws with any BAC above 0. In addition to alcohol, you can be arrested for driving under the influence of any drug or substance, including marijuana, cocaine, or prescription drugs such as Xanax that affect your ability to operate a vehicle safely.

Legal Penalties For a First Time DUI 

If it’s your first DWI offense, you will receive a fine of up to $2,000 and could receive a jail sentence of up to six months. You will also face suspension of your driver’s license for up to six months and will have to pay an annual fee of $2,000 per year for three years to keep an active driver’s license. 

As a first-time offender, you may be able to obtain an occupational driver’s license during your suspension, which will allow you to get to work, school, and to complete household duties. An occupational license will also require you to provide evidence that the places you are going to affect financial responsibility. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicles that will test your BAC every time you attempt to start your car. 

Long-term Consequences of a DUI

In addition to the legal implications of a DWI, you may also experience a significant increase in your auto insurance costs. A DWI conviction can also affect your employment, housing opportunities as well as your privileges for carrying a firearm or holding proper licensure. If you are applying for college or jobs, a DWI conviction may show up on your background checks and may even affect your ability to apply for financial aid or scholarships. 

The penalties for a DWI can be severe and impact the rest of your life. It’s important to get official and specific legal information regarding your case and your circumstances. Reading about potential consequences online can be a helpful first step to know what yo expect, but contacting a DWI attorney will give you more detailed information about how to move forward. 

If you’ve been arrested on DUI/DWI charges in Houston, it’s time to contact a criminal defense attorney who is familiar and experienced in these specific types of cases. Contact Christopher T. Gore for a consultation to find out more about how he can represent you and help you move forward after these charges. 

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Can a DWI/DUI affect your employment?

Sign that says DUI DWI will cost you

Driving while under the influence is not only extremely dangerous for you and everyone around you, but can carry consequences that follow you for the rest of your life. If you are charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) in Texas, you could face a fine of up to $2,000 and have your license suspended for up to one year. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, you could spend up to 6 months in jail.

Something that you might not consider is that in addition to the obvious consequences of a DUI, having this conviction on your record can affect your future employment. Since Texas is an “employment-at-will” state, your employer has the right to fire you for any reason. Unless your contract states that you can’t be fired for a specific cause, you are not guaranteed to maintain employment after a charge. Because of these laws, your current work and future job opportunities may be at risk if you’re arrested or convicted for driving under the influence.

Here are three ways a DUI or DWI can affect your career.

You could be fired from your existing job

Even if you’re arrested but found not guilty, you can still be fired from your job after a DUI. As we mentioned, Texas law gives employers the right to terminate employment at any time unless it is written into your contract that you will be protected against termination for specific reasons. Depending on your job, employers will consider a DUI charge differently. Another thing to consider is the amount of time you may need to take off of work due to court appearances and possible jail time. That in itself may be enough cause for an employer to fire you. 

You may be denied employment

If you are fired from your job or unemployed at the time of the arrest, having a DUI charge on your record could affect potential employment in different ways. While it is possible to find work after a DUI, applying for a job when you have a criminal record can limit your options significantly. Potential employers may see you as a risk or call in to question your character if you are applying for a public-facing role.

You could lose professional licensure

Depending on your current career, the implications of a DUI might be much more significant than just losing your job. If you are in a profession that requires professional licenses, your license could be at risk if you are not in what your community considers “good ethical standing.” A few careers that can be affected by a DUI are medical professionals, lawyers, professional drivers, including truck drivers, people who work closely with children, or public servants.

It’s important not to rely on advice from the internet when trying to understand the charges you’re facing. If you’re facing DUI charges, it’s time to contact an experienced Houston defense attorney. It might feel like you have no options after a DUI charge, but try not to lose hope. Working with an experienced and qualified defense attorney can help you navigate your charges to put you in a more favorable position when it comes to your future.

Contact defense attorney Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you in court after a DWI or DUI charge and help you reclaim your future.

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Don’t Drink and Drive This Summer

Summer Vacation Drive Safe

Summer is a time for road trips, fun days on the water, and endless cookouts. It’s also the season that experiences the highest number of alcohol-related crashes and DUIs. The increase in activities that involve drinking makes hitting the road more dangerous than ever.

Texas law defines drunk driving two ways:

  • Having a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher
  • Not having regular use of mental or physical faculties from consuming drugs or alcohol

Driving a boat under the influence is equally as dangerous as driving on the roadways, and it’s illegal in 50 states. When impaired on the water, a driver’s reaction time can slow down even more than driving on the road due to a phenomenon called “boater’s hypnosis.” When combined with the motion of the water, the vibrations of being on a boat and being out in the open air, the effects of alcohol can become exaggerated. You also face an increased risk of dehydration, which can heighten the effects of alcohol even more.  

Impaired Tubing and Boating

Drunk driving isn’t just limited to driving on cars. In Texas, tubing and boating are wildly popular summer activities that often involve drinking and leads to many drinking and driving incidents after a day on the late. In South Texas, summer’s are the season of tubing on the Guadalupe in San Marcos. Tubing on the river tends to involve a day of drinking and boating. While alcohol is allowed on the river, there are still serious consequences for drinking and boating, as well as driving home after a full day of consuming alcohol.

In addition to boating while intoxicated, many tubers don’t realize they are still too drunk to drive home, which can result in severe injuries and fatalities. The 2016 death of Kristian Nicole Guerrero, who lost her life after a collision with a drunk driver, showcases the seriousness that can ensue. Guerrero was hit head-on by a drunk driver who had spent the day drinking and tubing. The 21-year old who hit her didn’t realize just how intoxicated he was before driving home.

Driving a boat under the influence is equally as dangerous as driving on the roadways, and it’s illegal in 50 states. When impaired on the water, a driver’s reaction time can slow down even more than driving on the road due to a phenomenon called “boater’s hypnosis.” When combined with the motion of the water, the vibrations of being on a boat and being out in the open air, the effects of alcohol can become exaggerated. You also face an increased risk of dehydration, which can heighten the effects of alcohol even more.  

Every year, hundreds of people lose their lives in drunk driving accidents, and that number steadily increases every year. Texas has the highest drunk driving rate reported in the country, making the roads especially dangerous for everyone involved.

Don’t let drunk driving ruin your summer fun. When out this summer having a good time, remember to coordinate a designated driver to get home from your destination safely. With apps like Uber and Lyft, it’s easier than ever to avoid driving drunk and finding a safe alternative without putting other motorists at risk.

If you have been charged with a DUI, DWI or other alcohol-related offense, you should contact legal counsel asap to see how these may affect your specific case. For a Houston DWI attorney or a criminal defense lawyer, contact Christopher T. Gore at (713) 223-1600 for more info on how his team can best represent your case.

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What to Do If You’re Pulled Over for a Suspected DWI

Drunk Driving

When someone is pulled over in Texas and is suspected to be intoxicated the police will ask that individual to step out of their car and take a Breathalyzer test by breathing into the device. The device will measure the amount of alcohol content in their system, and the officer will be able to determine if that driver is intoxicated.

If you’re pulled over for a suspected DWI, the first thing to remember is to be cooperative. It might be a scary situation to be in, but there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure you don’t escalate the situation even further.

What to expect upon the stop

If you’re pulled over and suspected of drinking, it’s likely that you’ll be automatically arrested, even if you pass a field sobriety test. This is why you should never drink and drive, even if you feel fine or if you’ve only had one or two drinks. Remember that it is the police officer’s job to protect the public, so if they suspect that you’re intoxicated and a threat to the public, they can arrest you on the spot, with no tests required.

If you’ve been arrested for driving while drunk, there is very little you can do at that moment to make your case better or beat the charge. It’s important to be cooperative, do what the police tells you, and contact a Houston DWI attorney or criminal lawyer as soon as possible.

Depending on your history and if you have other charges prior to this one, you could face jail time, pay fees of up to $10,000, and will likely lose your license for a certain amount of time. In some cases, you’ll be required to use an ignition interlock on your vehicle until your probation is over.

Don’t voluntarily do a test on the spot

Texas has implied consent laws. These laws state that when you apply for a Texas driver’s license, you agree in advance to submit to a chemical test conducted in roadside sobriety exams. So the officer’s are correct in saying that you are breaking the law by not complying with the test. If you refuse, there is an immediate suspension of your license for 180. However, if you take the test and fail, then the consequences will be much worse further down the line.

The officers will threaten to take your license if you don’t comply with a field sobriety test or breathalyzer, but if you take the test and fail, your license will be taken anyways.

Taking a test on the spot and having that record of the account runs you the risk of being charged with a Class B Misdemeanor if your BAC is under .15. Beyond the legal fine, you also face increased insurance costs and a criminal record which can cause employment issues in the future.

If you are looking for a Houston DWI attorney, marijuana attorney or a criminal defense lawyer, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can best represent your case.

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What You Need to Know About Drunk Driving Laws in Houston, Texas

Drinking alcohol impairs driving

The penalties for drunk driving in Texas have become harsher over the years. This is because of the alarming rate of collisions, and deaths caused by drunk or drugged drivers in the state. According to the Houston Chronicle, in the last 16 years, there have been over 3,000 wrecks due to impaired driving which are the highest rate in the country.

Laws on Drunk Driving in Texas

Texas laws on drunk driving are found in the Texas Penal Code Title 10, Chapter 49 which defines intoxication in two ways. The first definition asserts that intoxication occurs when a person does not have normal use of mental and physical faculties due to consuming drugs or alcohol. The second definition simply states that a person is labeled as intoxicated when their blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 or higher.

Drunk Driving Penalties in Texas

Here’s what can be expected when facing your first, or subsequent, DWI charge:

1st charge – You’ll receive a fine up to $2,000 and could spend 3 to 180 days in jail in addition to mandatory attendance of a DUI education program.

2nd charge – You’ll pay a fine of up to $4,000 and serve a jail sentence of one month up to a year, as well as a license suspension of up to two years. You will also be required to install an ignition interlock (a device that prevents your vehicle from starting without a breathalyzer test) as well as attend DUI education classes.

3rd charge – This time you are facing a fine of up to $10,000 as well as a suspended driver’s license for up to two years. You could also have up to 10 years in state prison, as well as mandatory ignition interlock and DUI education classes.

How to know if you are intoxicated

If you are suspected of being drunk while driving, Texas law enforcement officials will use a few different methods to determine if you are impaired. These can include blood tests, breathalyzer tests or urine tests to determine your blood alcohol content. While these tests will be conducted somewhere in the process, officers do not need to have physical evidence to charge you with a DWI in Texas. Texas officers can use probable cause to determine if you are intoxicated enough to cause harm and place you under arrest without conducting a test first. Officers are trained to assess your physical appearance, behavior as well as a presence of alcohol to determine if you’re intoxicated. They may also perform field sobriety tests during the stop as well.

DWI crimes involving other people

In addition to being charged with a DWI, if the offense involves other people, then you may be facing a much more severe penalty. For instance, if you are in the car with a child under 15 years old, the incident involves an assault or manslaughter, or you cause harm to a police officer or firefighter, then you could face other charges in addition to your DWI.

If you are looking for a Houston DWI attorney, marijuana attorney or a criminal defense lawyer, contact Christopher T. Gore for more info on how he can best represent your case.