Bert and Elise were visiting their granddaughter Josephine for her first Thanksgiving. They were driving from Austin but made it to the Houston city limits. Bert saw his exit on US 290 and took it. No less than two minutes after he exited the freeway, he saw flashing red and blue lights in his rearview mirror. Bert was surprised because he was careful to maintain his speed and was aware of committing no traffic violations. He pulled over to the side of the road. Elise looked just as surprised because she thought her husband did nothing wrong. The officer walked to the vehicle. He asked Bert for his license and insurance. Bert complied and the officer went to his vehicle. The officer returned and told Bert he was writing him a ticket for failing to drive in a single lane. Bert did not understand why he was getting the ticket and asked the officer why he was pulled over. The officer explained that Bert's tires crossed the marked lines of the lane and thats why he was receiving the ticket. Once the officer left, Bert and Elise discussed the ticket. They were both furious because they did not think Bert violated the law. However, they did not live in Houston. Bert told Elise he disagreed with the ticket but given the time constraints he would just mail in a payment. Elise indicated to Bert, if he paid the ticket he may mess up his driving record. Bert was now even more confused how to proceed.
Fail to Drive in a Single Lane
Each driver must maintain a single lane when using Texas roadways. A driver could receive a ticket for failure to drive in a a single lane when that driver is
a. on a roadway with two or more clearly marked lanes;
b. fails to drive as nearly as practical in a single lane; and
c. moves from that lane when movement cannot be made safely.1
A Texas Driver may also receive a failure to drive in a single lane ticket where they move to the center of a roadway with three lanes that provides for two-way movement of traffic and no legal exception applies.2
How It Impacts Your Driving Record
A conviction for a failure to drive in a single lane will incur points under the Texas Driver Responsibilty Program. A person who receives this ticket and pays it at the courthouse window, online or through the mail will receive a conviction and points assessed to their driving record. Any person who is convicted of this offense in a judge or jury trial will also receive a conviction and incur points on their driving record. However, if a court finds an accident resulted from the violation, then three points will be added to the driver's driving record.3 The points will remain on the record for a period of three years.4
In the fictional characterization above, Bert would be wise to listen to his wife. If he mails in a payment for his ticket, it will result in two points on his driving record. Those points will remain on Bert's driving record for a period of three years.
Excluding court costs, the fine range for failure to maintain a single lane is between $1 to $ 200.
A failure to maintain single lane charge is uniquely based on the perception of the officer. As such, there are ways individuals like Bert can attack the bases of such a ticket. Since paying the fine can damage a person's Texas driving record, seeking the advice of counsel on the best course of action would be wise. If you are in need of a defense attorney to protect your driving record after receiving a failure to drive in single lane ticket, reach out to us on our contact page to find out how our attorney can assist you.
Author's Information: Attorney Tracey A. Beecher represents persons accused of class c misdemeanors and city code ordinance violations within the City of Houston Municipal Courts, Harris County Justice of the Peace Courts and Fort Bend County Justice of the Peace Courts.
Legal Disclaimer: Each person's situation and circumstances are unique. As such, this article is given to provide general information only. It is not legal advice nor is it intended as a substitute for legal counsel. Should the reader need legal advice or counsel, it is appropriate to seek the assistance of a licensed attorney.
Photo by Michael Gaida, https://pixabay.com/en/users/michaelgaida-652234/
1 Texas Transportation Code 545.060 (a)
2 Id. at (b).
4 37 Texas Admin. Code § 15.89(b); see also http://texreg.sos.state.tx.us/fids/201403910-1.html