Public Information Call Attorney Randall Scott

Public Information

Helpful Information When Driving Texas Roads

How To Fight Your Ticket...

As soon as possible, hire a qualified attorney familiar with the substantive law, defenses and rules of evidence.

Take multiple photographs of the relevant roadway, signs, road markings, etc., from driver and officer perspective contemporaneously with the citation date and perferably at the same time of day and under similar conditions.

Write down the complete names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses to the incident.

Recall in detail the conversation between you and the citing officer, especially any apologies, excuses or other statements that could be interpreted as admissions of guilt. Also, if you file a complaint against the citing officer with his/her internal affairs department, keep a copy of your complaint.

Before trial, set a conference with your attorney and bring your photos and witness information. Relate your conversation with the citing officer and a copy of any internal affair's complaint.

Ask your attorney's advice concerning the merits of your case, and follow your attorney's advice on how to best present your defense.

Help your attorney get your witnesses to court.

If you testify, listen carefully to each question and answer truthfully and accurately. Do not volunteer additional information.

If a Cop Pulls You Over...

You are required by State law to "immediately drive to a position parallel to and as close as possible to the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection". T.C. ß 545.156(2). If the officer prefers that you move elsewhere, he/she will instruct you. Keep both hands on your steering wheel and remain seated in your car until instructed otherwise. Do not unlatch your seat belt or reach for your drivers license or insurance papers until asked. DO NOT MAKE ADMISSIONS OR EXCUSES. Citing officers will make notations of your statements and frequently bait drivers to make incriminating comments. Simply state that you were unaware of doing anything illegal or unreasonable.

BE COURTEOUS, no matter how discourteous the officer may appear. Most police officers are people just like you and deserve respect as police officers. However, when their authority is challenged or they are treated disrespectfully, they are usually most happy to show you that THEY HAVE POWER AND YOU HAVE NONE. One citation is certainly preferable to five, and remember: they have the discretion to arrest you and take you to jail or write you a ticket. Further, when cases are finally set for trial, officers tend to remember the drivers who acted disrespectfully and make a greater effort to appear for trial.

Did You Know That...?
If you pay a ticket for driving without your glasses (restriction code violation), you will be subject to a 90 day license suspension. T.C. ß 521.292.

If you pay off a second no insurance ticket, regardless of how long ago the first no insurance ticket was paid, your license may be suspended. T.C. ß 601.231.

Before you are guilty of a Minor in Possession case (alcohol or cigarettes), the government must prove that you exercised "actual care, custody, control or management over the alcohol." Being in the vicinity, or even the same car, is not sufficient evidence of guilt. P.C. ß 1.07(39).

If you are under 21 and are cited for operating a motor vehicle with a detectable amount of alcohol in your system, you have 15 days to request a hearing to avoid an automatic license suspension. A.B.C ß 106.041 T.C. ß 521.342 (a)(2), ß 521.011, ß 524.031.

The Department of Public Safety is only obligated to notice you of license suspension proceedings at the address on your drivers license. If the address is invalid and you do not receive the notice, you will probably be informed that your license has been suspended at the same time you are arrested for driving on a suspended license. T. C. § 521.295.

If you pay off four (4) moving violations within any twelve (12) month period, you may be subject to a ninety (90) day license suspension as a habitual violator. T.C. ß 21.292 (a)(3),(b).

When you miss the appearance date requirement on your traffic citation, you may be charged with a seperate offense entitled Violation of Promise to Appear. To be guilty of this offense, you must "willfully", not inadvertently, miss your appearance date. T.C. ß 543.009. If the court mistakenly charges you with Failure to Appear (applicable to non-traffic cases for which you were taken into custody), you are nevertheless entitled to a defense that you had "a reasonable excuse" for missing your appearance requirement. P.C ß 38.10.

You may be entitled to remove any reference to traffic cases which you satisfied by deferred adjudication from government computers. This right also applies to other Class "C" misdemeanors. The proceeding is called an expunction. C.C.P. art. 45.051 (e).

If charges have been filed against you for issuing a bad check you may be charged with theft by check. Justice Court judges are famous for advising people that they can "take care of the case" by paying court costs and making good on the check. The result may be a theft conviction permanently on your record. Theft convictions are not good: they interfere with employment, educational and housing opportunities; they follow you into court to prove you are not worthy of belief. P.C. 31.03, T.R. Evd. 609(a).

Some police departments in Texas are using laser speed measuring devices. The admissibility of this type of evidence requires the testimony of an expert witness, other than the police officer. T.R. Evd. 702, Municipal Court Reporter, Vol. 4, No. 5, August - Sept. 1994.

Hand-held breath test devices results are not admissible in Texas courts. D.P.S. breath test reg. ß 19.7(c).