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Being convicted of a drunk-driving offense is a serious matter in any state, but it is even more so in Texas since a DUI (Driving while under the influence) conviction stays on an individual’s record forever. Most other states will keep a DUI on the individual’s driving record for a 10-year period, then remove it. Keeping a DUI on a driver’s record forever has long-lasting effects on the cost of car insurance, among other things.
Basic DUI Laws For The State Of Texas
In Texas, a DUI is known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). According to the Penal Code of Texas, an individual has committed an offense if they are intoxicated while they are operating a motor vehicle in any public place.
In the state of Texas a driver is considered to be drunk if they have a concentration of alcohol in their blood of .08 percent or higher. If the driver is under age 21, a blood alcohol level of .02 percent or higher will result in penalties and other effects.
According to Texas law, a person can be considered drunk or otherwise intoxicated if their mental or physical abilities are impaired because of any alcoholic or drug substance, regardless of their blood alcohol content (BAC.) Like many other states, Texas has a law called implied consent, and every person with a drivers license automatically consents to this law, which says they agree to have a chemical, breath, or urine test of their blood to determine their BAC, and if they refuse the test, their license will be revoked.
A first offender in a DWI charge in the state of Texas must be aware that they only have a 15-day period from their arrest date to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) hearing to avoid having their license automatically suspended for three months. If they refuse to submit to a chemical test, the suspension is six months.
DUI Penalties for Driving Under The Influence In Texas
A DWI charge is always serious, but in the state of Texas a DWI conviction will never be expunged from an individual’s criminal record. A first DWI offense will be classified as a misdemeanor. There will be a fine of up to $2,000, and jail time for a period from 72 hours to six months. If an open container of beer or other alcohol is found in the car when a driver is arrested, there is a minimum requirement of six days in a county jail. Additionally, the law in Texas mandates community service for a period from 24 hours to 100 hours. In a first-offense, most people are granted probation, which is for two years. Typically, there are also other requirements imposed, which may include alcohol education, drug or alcohol evaluation, and participation or attendance at a victim impact panel for MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving.)
In some cases a driver in Texas will need to install and use an ignition interlock device. The cost to put one of these devices in a vehicle is to be covered by the driver, and if the device is removed before the driver’s suspension period is up, this will trigger a license suspension that will re-start the suspension period from the beginning. The state will also impose an extra surcharge for a DWI on top of regular fines. This will be $1,000 each year for a three-year period on the first offense. A driver’s license will be suspended for one year; however, if they choose to participate in a DWI education class they may avoid the suspension. A working or occupational license may be given to drivers based on a review of their needs.
SR-22 Requirements In The State Of Texas
In the event of a DWI conviction, a driver will need to prove they have the required liability insurance by carrying an SR-22 policy. An insurer can usually assist in completing the required SR-22 form. There are a small number of states that do not require the SR-22, however the majority of them do. If a person moves to a state with out the SR-22 requirement, they are still required to comply with any SR-22 regulations in the state of their prior residency.
An SR-22 form needs to be filed in the state of Texas if an individual is convicted of violations such as a DWI or driving without being insured. It is mandatory to keep the SR-22 form in force for two years from the violater’s conviction date.
Car Insurance after a Texas DUI
Car insurance rates are based on a multitude of factors, and even with a DWI, rates can vary significantly from one insurance company to the next. It is important to hire a competent DWI Attorney to review a person’s case and try to minimize or remove any damages that could be incurred due to a potential DWI conviction.
If an individual is convicted of a DWI, there is a very good chance their car insurance company will eventually find out. In this case, either the insurance company will raise their rates or they will be canceled. Additionally, not every insurance company offers an SR-22 policy, so this may be the issue that forces a person to seek other insurers.
Most likely individuals with a DWI on their record will not be able to get insurance from one of the premium carriers, but some well-known insurance carriers such as Progressive Insurance, The General Car Insurance, or AIS offer SR-22 policies. Additionally, individuals may enter thier zip code in our database of car insurance companies and compare auto insurance rates from several companies who sell SR-22 policies in order to try and get the lowest quote possible.