Traffic Laws in Texas Explained

Traffic Laws in Texas Explained

August 12, 2019

For most Americans, driving is a way of life—especially in the giant state of Texas. No matter where you live and drive, you have to know the rules of the road or risk tickets, jail or even worse consequences. Here are some of the most commonly violated traffic laws in Texas, so you can take care to avoid breaking the law and incurring legal consequences.

Drinking and Driving Violations

Drinking and driving violations are governed by the Texas State Penal Code. As you might imagine, driving while under the influence is forbidden—but if you’re operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and you have a passenger under the age of 15 in the car, Penal Code Ch. 49.04 makes this an automatic state jail felony.

Chapter 49 of the Texas Penal Code offers detailed definitions of what the state considers to be “intoxicated,” as well as other intoxication-related crimes. For the most part, drinking and driving violations are Class B misdemeanors with a minimum of three days’ jail time, but certain circumstances or crimes—such as having a BAC of 0.15 or higher—can increase the punishment. At a minimum, you can expect a fine of $2,000, a suspended license and up to 180 days’ jail time. Always have a designated driver to avoid these penalties.

Driving Without a License, Insurance or Registration

Driving without a license (or a suspended license) is governed by TX Transp. Code Ch. 521. As you are probably aware, all Texas drivers are required to have a valid license while driving. The fines start at $200, and can increase each time a driver fails to provide a license.

Driving without insurance is covered under TX Transp. Code Ch. 601, the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act. First time offenders start incurring fines to the tune of $350, which increase for each repeated violation.

Finally, driving without appropriate registration is governed by TX Transp. Code Ch. 502. The fees for driving without registration start at $200.

Speeding and Other Moving Violations

Moving violations are the other major area where Texas drivers regularly break the law. From speeding, running red lights, using your cell phone, seatbelt and child restraint violations, neglecting to use your headlights and parking illegally to making illegal U-turns, moving violations can incur serious fines and consequences. These violations and their legal punishments can be found in TX Transp. Code Ch. 545 and its subsections.

Some speeding violations, depending on their severity, can result in a revoked license. Other violations, such as failing to use your headlights after dark, incur tickets and fines.

Mechanical and Modification Violations

We all know broken lights and other mechanical violations can result in anything from fines to “fix-it tickets”—but you may not be aware that there are also laws governing what kind of modifications you can make to your vehicle! These can be found in TX Transp. Code 547, and punishments range from fees to misdemeanors.

Some of the most common modification violations include illegally tinted windows or headlights, overly loud stereo or PA systems and anything that interferes with your license plate’s visibility. This includes retractable license plates or covers (such as sprays or flashing lights designed to make your plate invisible to cameras). When you’re thinking about modifying your car, it’s smart to first make sure your desired modifications are legal.

If you’ve gotten into a jam involving Texas traffic laws in Lubbock, TX, don’t delay—call the Law Office of Rob Biggers for legal representation. We’ll assist you in getting a speedy and fair resolution to your case.

**This Blog/Website is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog/website you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.**

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