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Can You Go to Jail for a Traffic Violation?

Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law May 2, 2023

Money Bag with The Word Traffic Violation and The Judge's HammerIf you have recently received a traffic violation in Texas, you may be wondering about the possible consequences of your actions. While some traffic violations may only result in a fine, others can lead to more severe penalties, including jail time.  

Since you could go to jail for some traffic violations in Texas, you need to take the situation very seriously if you received a traffic ticket. Attorney Kim Hamilton helps Texas motorists fight traffic tickets and keep their records clean. With an office in Fort Worth, Texas, Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law, also serves clients in Tarrant County, Johnson County, and other parts of the state.  

Understanding Traffic Violations in Texas  

A traffic violation occurs when a driver fails to obey traffic laws and/or signs. This can include running a red light or stop sign, speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, and not wearing a seatbelt. Traffic violations can result in a ticket, a fine, or other penalties, depending on the severity of the violation and the circumstances surrounding it. 

Some of the most common types of traffic violations in Texas include speeding, failure to signal, driving under the influence (DUI), failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, driving without a license or insurance, reckless driving, parking violations, and failure to yield the right of way. Each of these violations can carry varying penalties depending on the severity of the infraction. 

Is Jail Time for a Traffic Violation Possible?  

Yes, jail time is possible for certain types of traffic violations in Texas. This is especially true if the violation caused an accident resulting in injury or death to another person. In some cases, even minor violations can lead to a warrant for your arrest. 

Below is a list of traffic violations in Texas that could put you in jail: 

  • Speeding. Speeding is one of the most common traffic violations in Texas and around the country. However, receiving a speeding ticket is not enough to warrant your arrest and time in jail. If you accept and sign the ticket, you are usually free to go. However, if you refuse to sign the ticket, you could get arrested and be required to spend time in jail.  

  • DUI/DWI. Driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while intoxicated are some of the most aggressively punished offenses in Texas. If you are arrested for DUI or DWI, you can end up in jail depending on the number of DUIs/DWIs on your record.  

  • Reckless driving. When you get caught driving recklessly and disobeying traffic laws, you could face a jail sentence of up to 30 days in addition to fines.  

  • Intoxication manslaughter. If you get behind the wheel of your car when intoxicated and end up causing someone’s death, you will most likely face intoxication manslaughter charges in Texas. Intoxication manslaughter is a felony, which carries two to 20 years’ imprisonment.  

  • Hit and run. The criminal penalties for leaving the scene of an accident (hit and run) is punishable by from up to six months in jail to up to 10 years in prison, depending on the extent of vehicle damage and whether the accident caused any injuries or deaths.   

In addition, you could be picked up and taken to custody if a bench warrant is issued. In Texas, a bench warrant is essentially a court order for your arrest. A bench warrant is often issued when an individual fails to appear for a court date. If there is a bench warrant, you will be held in custody until a bench warrant hearing.  

Factors That Could Lead to Jail Time  

Factors that could increase the likelihood of jail time for a traffic violation in Texas include multiple prior traffic infractions, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended or revoked license. Additionally, if the traffic violation resulted in injury, death, or extensive damage to property, jail time may be a possible penalty. 

How to Avoid Jail Time for a Traffic Violation? 

Understandably, you do not want to spend any time in jail after committing a traffic violation. If jail time is a possible penalty for the traffic violation you are accused of, do not hesitate to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney.  

Attorney Kim Hamilton has the resources to help you receive a lower fine or a lesser charge so that you avoid or reduce a jail sentence. In the best-case scenario, it is possible to have the ticket dismissed altogether.  

Seek Trusted Legal Counsel  

Fighting the traffic ticket – as opposed to paying the fine and accepting the penalty – is your best way to avoid jail time and other consequences. Attorney Kim Hamilton will work tirelessly to help ensure you do not face harsh penalties, including jail time, for your traffic violation. Reach out to Kim Hamilton Attorney at Law, to set an appointment and discuss your options. The firm proudly serves clients in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Johnson County, and other parts of the state of Texas.