Traffic offenses in Dallas can range from small traffic citations that are payable by a fine to serious traffic crimes that can result in lengthy prison sentences. Although many people who receive a minor traffic ticket may just want to pay the ticket, it is advisable to hire an experienced traffic defense lawyer for even the smallest moving citation. Additionally, not all traffic offenses can be resolved by paying a fine or completing a driving course. Many traffic offenses in Texas can result in serious criminal repercussions, such as imprisonment, payment of surcharges, fines and/or points under Texas’s driving system.
If you have been charged with a criminal traffic offense, regardless of the severity, it’s critical to have a strong defense strategy. An arrest does not indicate guilt or mean that conviction will follow. There are many factors that can contribute to the outcome of your case. However, an experienced Dallas traffic offense attorney can use these details to your benefit and file pre-trial motions to dismiss the case or suppress evidence.
Dallas Traffic Offense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a traffic offense or cited with a traffic ticket in Dallas, or any of the surrounding areas in Texas, including Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, Denton, Plano, McKinney, Fort Worth,Decatur, Terrell, Weatherford, Sherman, Rockwall, Burleson, Waxahachie, Arlington, Mesquite, Carrolton, Richardson, Lewisville or Frisco, contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.
Attorney Richard McConathy is knowledgeable in all areas of Dallas’ traffic laws and will make every effort to fight the allegations against you. Call The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy for a free consultation at (972) 233-5700 about your alleged traffic crime.
Dallas Traffic Crimes Information Center
- Dallas Traffic Offenses
- Texas’ Driving Point System
- Penalties for Traffic Crimes in Dallas
- Dallas Traffic Crime Resources
Some of the most serious traffic crimes in Dallas are listed below.
An individual can be charged with reckless driving under section 545.401 of the Tex. Transp. Code if they operate a motor vehicle on a public road in Dallas with intentional or careless disregard for the safety or personal property of others. This offense is punishable as a misdemeanor crime.
According to Tex. Transp. Code § 550.021, an individual can be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, or hit and run, if they were involved in a car accident:
- That resulted in another person’s death or property damage and
- The driver failed to stop their car at the scene of the accident or as close as possible;
- The driver failed to stop and didn’t stay at the scene of the accident;
- The driver failed to stop without obstructing more traffic than necessary; and/or
- The driver failed to stay at the scene of the accident until they exchanged all necessary information with any other people involved with the accident.
As defined in Tex. Transp. Code § 521.457, an individual can be charged with driving with a suspended license if they drive a vehicle in public in Texas and:
- Their license was canceled and not reissued;
- Their license was suspended or revoked; or
- Their license was not renewed and has not yet been reissued.
This offense is punishable as a Class C, B or A misdemeanor.
Under section 19.04 of the Texas Penal Code, an individual can be charged with vehicular manslaughter, or vehicular homicide, if they cause the death of another person while recklessly operating their motor vehicle. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the second degree or first degree.
An individual can be charged with racing on a highway, according to Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 545.420, if they participate in:
- A race,
- A competition or contest involving speed,
- A drag race,
- A race to test the vehicle operator’s endurance, or
- A contest to make a speed record.
An individual can be charged with fleeing or eluding a police officer under Tex. Transp. Code § 545.421 if they operate a motor vehicle and intentionally or willfully do not stop the vehicle when signaled to do so by a police officer or flee or attempt to elude a pursuing police officer. This offense can result in a conviction for a Class B or Class A misdemeanor.
As defined in Tex. Transp. Code Ann. § 708.052, Texas provides for driving point system that assigns points to each driver’s record for committing certain traffic violations. After accumulating a certain number of points, the driver is required to pay surcharges. A total of six points will result in a surcharge of $100, which is payable each year to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Additionally, the driver is required to pay $25 for each additional point. Most traffic offenses result in two points, but more serious offenses can result in three points.
Under 37 Tex. Admin. Code § 15.89, traffic offenses resulting in two or three points can include, but are not limited to:
- Speeding more than 10% over the posted speed limit
- Speeding in a school zone
- Running stop sign or light
- Reckless driving
- Leaving the scene of an accident
- Improper passing
- Fleeing from a police officer
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to obey traffic signals
- Driver with open container
- Changing lanes unsafely
Certain traffic offenses will automatically result in the required payment of surcharges for up to three years after the commissions of the offense, even if the driver has no other points on their driving record. These offense include the following:
- Driving without a license – $100
- Driving with an invalid license – $250 surcharge
- Driving without insurance – $250 surcharge
- First DWI – $1,000 surcharge
- Second or subsequent DWI – $1,500 surcharge
- DWI with blood alcohol concentration level of .16 or more – $2,000 surcharge
Points stay on a driver’s record for three years, and their driving record will assessed each year. If the driver has six or more points each year, they will be required to pay the surcharge. An individual’s driving record will be reduced one point per year for each year they do not accumulate any points.
Certain traffic offenses can also result in additional penalties beyond surcharges and an assignment of points. These punishments can vary depending on the type of offense, the circumstances surrounding the offense, whether property damage or injury resulted from the offense and whether the alleged offender has other criminal convictions or is a repeat offender. Basic penalties for traffic offenses can include:
- An individual charged with reckless driving can be convicted of a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by a fine up to $200 and/or a jail sentence not more than 30 days.
- An individual charged with driving with a suspended license can be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $500; a Class B misdemeanor, which punishable by a fine up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence up to 180 days; or a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and/or a jail sentence up to one year.
- An individual charged with leaving the scene of an accident can be convicted of a felony of the third degree, which is punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence ranging from two to ten years.
- An individual charged with vehicular homicide can be convicted of a felony of the second degree, which is punishable by prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- An individual charged with vehicular homicide can be convicted of a felony of the first degree, which is punishable by prison sentence ranging from 5 to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- Habitual Traffic Violator is a designation reserved for individuals who have been convicted of four or more moving violations in one year, or seven or more moving violations in two years.
Texas Driver Responsibility Program – The Texas Department of Public Safety’s website provides details regarding the Driver Responsibility Program in Texas. This link gives general information on the program, including payment of surcharges, how an individual accrues points and any offenses that can result in automatic surcharges. A local DPS office is located at:1500 Marilla 1B South
City of Dallas Building
Dallas, Texas 75201
Phone: (214) 651-1859
Texas Transportation Code – Driver’s Licenses – Chapter 521 of the Texas Transportation Code provides for the state’s driver’s license laws, including reasons a driver’s license may be suspended and the penalties for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Texas Transportation Code – Reckless Driving – Section 545.401 of the Texas Transportation Code defines the offense of reckless driving in Texas and the penalties an individual in the state could receive for violating this statute.
Texas Transportation Code – Leaving the Scene – Section 550.021 of the Texas Transportation Code defines the requirements every driver in Texas must follow if they are involved in a car accident, including stopping at the scene and providing information to anyone involved in the accident. A failure to stop at the scene can result in serious penalties.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Fort Worth Traffic Crime Attorney
Contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today for a consultation about your alleged serious traffic crime throughout Dallas County in Texas. Richard McConathy is an experienced Dallas criminal lawyer who will make every effort to find defenses to mitigating factors to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Contact The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy at (972) 233-5700 for a consultation about your traffic crime throughout Dallas County in Texas and the surrounding counties of Denton County, Collin County, Wise County, Kaufman County, Parker County, Grayson County, Rockwall County, Johnson County, Ellis County, and Tarrant County.