Driving under the influence of alcohol in Texas can have serious consequences. Not only will you be arrested and held in jail, but you will also suffer financial issues such as fines and higher insurance premiums. Below is an overview of DWI laws in Texas and how it can affect your insurance after being convicted of a DWI. If you have been charged with one, it may be in your best interest to speak with a criminal defense attorney for advice.
What Is a DWI?
People driving with a blood alcohol content or BAC of .08 percent or above, can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Those who hold a commercial driver’s license (or CDL) are considered intoxicated at just .04 percent. Minors who are caught driving while under the influence of alcohol, may be arrested and taken into custody if they have any detectible amount of alcohol in their system..
How a DWI Affects Your Driving Record
Being charged and convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol has a negative impact on your driving record. The conviction will remain on your record in Texas for the rest of your life. The law in Texas never allows drivers convicted of DWI to have the information regarding the case expunged, nor does it remove the record of license suspension or revocation.
How a DWI Affects Your Insurance Rates
According to Insure.com, being convicted of driving under the influence in Texas can cause insurance rates to skyrocket. After conviction, a driver’s insurance rate may go up anywhere from 30 to 200 percent depending on the details surrounding the conviction and your policy provisions. Many drivers are surprised to learn their insurance company has cancelled them after a DWI conviction. Some insurance companies do not want to take the risk of insuring someone with a questionable driving or criminal record.
In Texas, drivers who are convicted of DWI must obtain an insurance rider known as an SR-22. This is designed to ensure high risk drivers maintain the appropriate level of automobile insurance for at least 2 years after a DWI conviction. Because a driver is considered high risk after a DWI conviction, the placement of the SR-22 can cause a dramatic increase in the driver’s insurance rates.
Other factors may also change a person’s insurance premium after a DWI conviction. Those who maintain safe driving records after a conviction and drive a vehicle in a lower risk group may pay less for insurance. A driver’s age and gender also play a role in calculating insurance premiums after a DWI conviction.
If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, contact a criminal defense attorney for advice. Hiring an attorney is the best way to protect your interests in court proceedings, which may allow you to minimize the impact a driving under the influence charge may have on your life. Having an attorney working for you can also ease the stress associated with a DWI case.