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DWI Defense

Texas DWIs and SR-22 Insurance

Dallas DWI cases often result in license suspension issues in addition to a criminal case. If you or someone you know has had his or her driver’s license suspended in Texas because of a DWI criminal conviction, or as part of an administrative (ALR) suspension, it is highly likely if the opportunity is given to drive again legally, you would want to take it.

Occupational Drivers License

Under Texas law, in order to be able to once again drive legally after a DWI conviction or an ALR suspension, the accused must obtain an occupational driver’s license (ODL). An ODL has numerous requirements before a Texas judge and the state’s Department of Public Safety will grant licensure. One of the most confusing aspects of the ODl is the requirement of a special type of auto insurance known as SR-22.

A Texas SR-22, also referred to as a Financial Responsibility Form, is an endorsement that is attached to the insurance policy. In fact, a person needing an SR-22 cannot purchase the form on its own because it needs to purchase the policy to which it is attached. Basically, the SR-22 transfers the responsibility of monitoring the status of the policy to the company that issued it.

There are many reasons why the state of Texas man mandate an SR-22. These may include DWI conviction for alcohol or drug related offenses, an unpaid judgment for a liability claim, multiple tickets for failure to have insurance, excessive traffic violations, and as a requirement for an occupational or essential needs driver’s license, to name a few.

Of note, not every insurance company will issue an SR-22 because they are considered high risk. If a person forces the issue with their current carrier, this may red-flag the policy for non-renewal. In Texas personal automobile insurance policies contain a provision allowing an insurer to cancel the policy if a driver’s license is suspended or revoked. The SR-22 not only affects the individual, but all drivers and vehicles listed on the policy.

What Happens if You are Stopped?

Texas law mandates that a person is legally intoxicated may be arrested and charged with a DWI if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher. That being said, a person can be intoxicated due to drugs or alcohol regardless of his or her BAC. No matter if you are the driver or the passenger, you can incur a fine of $500 for having an open container in the car.

Beyond this, you may be charged with child endangerment if found driving while intoxicated if you have passengers in your vehicle who are under 15 years of age. The consequences of a DWI with a child passenger include:

  • A fine of up to $10,000.00;
  • Up to two years in a state jail;
  • Loss of your driver’s license for 180 days.

If you are stopped by law enforcement, you should expect to show your driver’s license as well as proof your car insurance and registration. If you refuse to take a blood or breath test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 180 days. Punishment for DWIs varies and is dependent upon the number of convictions.

Texas DWI Trial Lawyers

If you or someone know has been charged with DWI in Texas, you should contact a knowledgeable and aggressive DWI attorney to protect your rights under the law. The DWI Defense Firm has been representing the accused in Texas for over 20 years. Click here today to schedule your initial, free case evaluation.

(image courtesy of Daniela Cuevas)