Texarkana Personal Injury Lawyer

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DUI: Charge and Penalties

Being charged with a DUI can be scary, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process and are otherwise going through it for the first time. Can someone go to jail for driving under the influence? How expensive are the fines associated with it? Does the law regarding DUI’s differ from state to state? As with most other charges, the penalties for being charged with driving under the influence can vary based on how many the times the offender has previously been charged. Although a lawyer in Texarkana TX can help you with the specifics of your case, this guide should provide a basic foundation of knowledge for everything concerning DUIs, so that you’re fully prepared when you go to speak with your legal representative.

Jail

Across every state in America, the first time a person is found guilty of driving under the influence, they are subject to a misdemeanor and up to six months in jail. Although that may not seem like a sizeable amount of jail time, that punishment can be further influenced by other circumstances, such as the intensity of the person’s intoxication at the time of arrest. For instance, some states have called for greater punishments for those who are found guilty of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content that is at least twice the legal driving limit.

Interestingly, many states have provisions that require first time offenders to spend a minimum of at least a few days in jail. Any offenses beyond the first then add on exponentially more time to the jail sentence, culminating in up to a full year in jail for a single incident.

Although it depends on state law, punishments involving jail will also typically be far more severe in situations where the driver was intoxicated and caused injury to another party, such as running them over with a vehicle or getting into a collision with them.

Fines

Many courts impose additional fines on top of other sentences involving a DUI. These court fees can range anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Of course, it could be argued that the best way to fight these fees is by instead investing in a lawyer in Texarkana TX.

License Issues

Even first time offenders stand to lose their license for a fairly long period of time after being charged with driving under the influence. As with other punishments associated with DUI’s, the length of time in which a person’s license is revoked will often depend on whether it’s their first, second, or even third offense.

For those who are thinking about being combative with the police, there are additional penalties associated with refusing to take a breathalyzer test or to provide a urine or blood sample. Even if someone is found to not be guilty of driving under the influence, refusal to cooperate with these tests can result in a person’s license being temporarily revoked for an extended period of time. Some states even add other penalties on top of this, so it’s important to be cooperative while dealing with police officers. If you think you’re being treated unfairly, then you should speak to your lawyer about it after the fact instead of trying to confront them while you’re pulled over.

Driving While Young

Although driving under the influence is obviously bad regardless of your age, the law does not provide any particular breaks to minors who are caught doing so. Unlike many other charges, being young does not provide any benefits in these circumstances. In fact, minors who are caught driving under the influence can face multiple crimes, since it is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink. Furthermore, states use a lower bar for blood alcohol content with minors, meaning that they’re expected to be at 0.02 or lower, rather than the 0.08 that adults are held to.

Unintended Consequences

While most people probably associate DUI’s with jail time or court fees, few people take the other consequences into account. For instance, a person’s insurance company might cancel their policy after they’ve been charged with driving under the influence. Driving while intoxicated doesn’t just disappear from a person’s record over night either, which makes it difficult to get jobs that involve driving vehicles.

First Time Offenders in Texas

In Texas, a first time offender may be subject to the aforementioned jail time, as well as an additional fine of up to $2,000. Aside from a fine and jail time, additional punishments for first time offenders in Texas include a license suspension for up to two years, and an annual charge of an additional $2,000 to keep your license for several years after it has been returned. Depending on the severity of your intoxication at the time you were charged, you may also be required to install an ignition lock in your vehicle to prevent you from driving it while intoxicated. First time offenders may also be asked to take part in an education program geared towards preventing repeat offenders. Although this may not sound exciting to most people, the good news is that alternative punishments like these can be used to reduce your jail time or court fees, at the judge’s discretion, of course.

Second Time Offenders in Texas

After being charged with a second offense of driving under the influence, all of the previous punishments listed for Texas are either increased or extended significantly. Court fees escalate to as high as $4,000, and jail sentences range from a minimum of one month to a maximum of an entire year. Any license suspensions that occur can last for up to two years, and there may yet again be recurring charges of up to $2,000. Finally, you may be forced to install an ignition lock on your vehicle or attend another educational program.

Third Time Offenders in Texas

Once again, there is yet another jump in the severity of punishments for those who are caught offending for a third time in Texas. In terms of fines and court fees, the limit is raised to $10,000. For those worried about jail time, the punishment at this point ranges from a minimum of two to ten years in a state prison. Aside from these differences, the other punishments still exist at this level relatively unchanged. That means you can expect to once again have your license suspended for several years, and then be expected to pay $2,000 for several more years if you want to get it back. If you haven’t already had an ignition lock installed in your vehicle, then you can expect to do that, as well as attend that educational program if you haven’t already done so.

Protecting Yourself

Although the consequences of driving under the influence are certainly scary, they are not necessarily set in stone. If you have an effective lawyer by your side, you can have these charges dropped or reduced and ensure that you aren’t spending a fortune in fines, or spending any considerable amount of time in jail. It’s for this reason that it’s highly recommended you do your research and find a lawyer you can trust to represent you. Being charged with driving under the influence is serious, as evidenced by the variety of punishments that the state can enact. Don’t let yourself fall victim to an undeserved punishment if the right legal representative can protect you.

Statute of Limitations for Bad Faith Insurance

Bad faith insurance is a type of legal claim that is, for the most part, unique to the United States. Put simply, bad faith insurance claims consist of a policyholder accusing an insurance company of acting in bad faith with their contract. The concept of “good faith” exists within the United States legal framework and is used to ensure that companies do not take advantage of their consumers through poorly worded contracts. Unlike other types of claims, insurance bad faith claims can actually be handled as tort claims in addition to contract claims. Through this distinction, additional damages may be awarded to a claimant, since the United States does not allow for punitive damages on contract claims, but they do allow it for tort claims.

Despite the complexity that is commonly associated with insurance bad faith claims, this guide will aim to streamline this information and make it as easily digestible as possible. In addition, it will take a look at how the statute of limitations applies to insurance bad faith claims. Of course, as always, anyone interested in filing an insurance bad faith claim in the Texas area should seek out an experienced lawyer in Texarkana TX. They can offer better insight into your specific case and provide a more comprehensive look into the claim type.

Unfortunately, it can be somewhat difficult to generalize insurance bad faith claims in the United States, since each state has their own laws on how such a claim is handled. There are few actual federal laws governing how insurance claims are handled, since a 19th century court case held that the federal government had no such say in the matter. While there have been some attempts by Congress to ignore this restriction in the past, it has been difficult to overcome.

As a result of the state’s role in maintaining the insurance industry, each state has its own Department of Insurance, or similarly titled organization. Through this department, the state enforces its specific insurance code, which contains all of the state’s rules and stipulations associated with insurance.

When a case goes through the state’s court system, it is typically handled based on previous court rulings. Some states have attempted to move most of their contract laws into statutory laws, but this is really only prominent in places like California or Georgia.

The state court system is further complicated by the fact that different states have different definitions of how insurance can be handled in bad faith. For instance, in a place like California, it is only necessary to prove that the insurer was aware of at least one claim that was covered by the policy in some capacity in order to be liable for all of it. Unfortunately, those in Texas have a much harder time. Texas uses an “eight corners” rule to determine whether an insurer is responsible for covering the insured. Put simply, the “eight corners” rule comprises two documents: the complaint and the insurance policy.

Since it’s considerably more difficult to win an insurance bad faith claim in a place like Texas, it makes it all the more valuable to have a knowledgeable lawyer in Texarkana TX on your side.

Although most people tend to think of insurance bad faith in the case of unpaid medical bills, it can also apply to court fees, depending on the type of insurance policy being enacted. It is for this reason that many insurance companies attempt to take control of any lawsuits that involve one of their policyholders, so as to avoid paying further costs after a loss.

Under these circumstances, a bad faith lawsuit can result from an insurance company’s failure to properly represent its clients in a lawsuit, or their failure to pay out any costs that are associated with the proceedings. It may not be as highly publicized as the health insurance alternative, but it’s still just as important to keep in mind when building a possible insurance bad faith case.

Since there aren’t many statutes that exist to rigidly define bad faith, especially at the state level, much of the concept is instead defined based on previous cases. As a result, there are a wide variety of possibilities when it comes to determining whether an act was in bad faith or not, including improper claim handling, refusal to support a lawsuit or cover its costs, or making actual threats against the insured to prevent them from filing a claim. As always, there are plenty of other circumstances that may also qualify, and it is best to seek out an expert in the field to determine whether or not it applies to your specific situation. Since insurance bad faith is defined based on previous casework, the definition can continue to grow and evolve as time passes and new cases enter the court.

When it comes to paying for an insurance bad faith claim against an insurer, it’s up to the policyholder to determine the form of payment for the attorney. While some states provide additional protections to the plaintiff in the form of additional payouts for legal services, other states are not as lucky. If you’re looking at attorneys in Texas, some might try to get you to pay up-front for the costs of the litigation, but this isn’t the only option. Instead, try to seek out an attorney that is willing to take on the case through a contingent-fee basis. This minimizes the risk associated with the legal proceedings and ensures that the insurance company is held accountable for any legal fees that eventually accrue over the course of the period.

Despite all of this legal complexity associated with insurance bad faith, there is some good news. Given the length of time that these court cases can take to resolve, there isn’t really any limit on how long ago a contract dispute could have occurred. There have been cases in the United States of bad faith claims taking up to 22 years to resolve. Nowadays, most bad faith claims tend to revolve around the existence of toxic mold on a property. Decades ago, this claim wasn’t particularly popular, and it wasn’t particularly profitable either. But today, the claim has helped people recover millions in damages from insurance companies and has grown in prominence as more people have become familiar with the mold type.

If you’re unsure of whether or not you’ve been unfairly treated in a contract, then the best step to take is to contact a lawyer. Since most firms offer a free consultation in bad faith cases, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion. After pouring a considerable amount of money into your insurance contract, you deserve to have it implemented in a fair and honorable manner by your insurance company. Don’t let them take advantage of your goodwill and then handle your contract in bad faith. Instead, take action and ensure that your interests are properly represented. Bad faith may be defined differently from state to state, but it is ultimately always designed as a protection for the consumer against the poor behavior of insurance companies.