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Understanding the Impact of a DWI on Car Insurance in Texas

Whiskey with car keys and handcuffs concept for drinking and driving.

A DWI conviction can have serious penalties, many of which come after the terms and conditions of the sentence have been completed. Paying more for car insurance is among the more expensive and long-term consequences of a Texas DWI conviction.

How much does insurance go up after a DWI in Texas?

Typically, a driver with a driving while intoxicated conviction on their record will pay almost 50 percent more for car insurance than a driver with a clean record.

The average cost of car insurance in Texas is $2,631, according to Bankrate. With a DWI, the average cost is $3,901.

There is no hard-and-fast rule, but generally, a DWI can affect your insurance rates for 3-5 years or longer.

Can you still get car insurance after a DWI in Texas?

Getting car insurance in Texas after a DWI can be tough, but it's something you've got to deal with if you want to drive again. When insurance companies set rates, they look at how risky a driver is to insure. With a DWI on your record, you'll probably be seen as a "high risk," which means you'll likely pay more for your insurance — assuming companies are willing to cover you at all.

However, since Texas requires all drivers to have a certain amount of insurance to drive legally, finding a company that will insure you after a DWI is a must if you're planning to drive again.

Once a driver with a DWI has purchased insurance, Texas mandates they obtain an SR-22 certificate. Issued by the state, an SR-22 is required for drivers with DWI records. The certificate indicates that the driver has met the minimum requirements for purchasing car insurance. SR-22s must be filed with the Department of Public Safety for two years from the date of DWI conviction. Allowing the certificate to be canceled or lapse means a driver's license will be suspended.

How to avoid insurance rates going up

The best way to ensure your rates don't go up is to fight a DWI charge aggressively and thoroughly. Mounting a strong defense against a DWI charge can be a challenge. But if you take decisive legal action right away, you can put yourself in the best position to protect your freedom. At Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer, we know what it takes to build a strong DWI defense. That’s why we have a 90 percent success rate. The keys to establishing a solid DWI defense often involve several important factors, including:

  • Strong, supporting evidence.
  • Timely, decisive action.
  • Aggressive legal representation.

How a DWI defense attorney can help if you've been charged

The potential for increasing insurance rates or loss of insurance coverage is just one of many reasons to take DWI charges seriously and consult an experienced DWI defense attorney. If you have been charged with DWI in Conroe, TX, or another Montgomery County community, contact us to see how we can help you. Attorney Amanda Webb is a former Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County, and she knows the Texas court system inside and out. Our firm's DWI case results include:

  • DWI - dismissed.
  • DWI - reduced to reckless driving.
  • Felony DWI - reduced to misdemeanor.

Our Texas DWI defense legal team is available to hear from you anytime - 24/7. Contact us today.

NHTSA Pursues Drunk Driving Prevention Tech in Vehicles

Abstract Background concept of alcoholic beverages and driving.

What does this mean for drivers in Texas?

A proposal by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to require new vehicles to come standard with alcohol-detecting technology has the potential to seriously alter how DWI cases are handled in Texas and across the U.S.

Our criminal defense attorneys are closely following how the technology is developed and utilized by the government and criminal justice system. We're concerned that mandating this technology could lead to over-reliance on flawed testing and potential violations of privacy and defendants' rights.

BAC-testing tech could be required in new cars

At the heart of the NHTSA proposal are advanced sensors capable of detecting alcohol levels through touch or the ambient air. Some systems utilize steering wheel and gear lever sensors that measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from the driver's skin, while others assess the air in the vehicle's cabin. Specifically, the methods of impairment evaluation being considered include:

  • In-vehicle breathalyzer devices require a breath test before starting the vehicle, deterring drunk driving.
  • Breath and touch sensors detect alcohol levels in a driver's breath or bloodstream.
  • Eye movement monitoring cameras follow a driver's eye movements for signs of impairment.
  • Vehicle-to-driver communication systems assess a driver's alertness and responsiveness to deduce impairment.

This technology doesn't just attempt to measure alcohol presence; it prevents the vehicle from operating if it determines impairment. A false positive test result could shut down a person's vehicle as they are on their way to work, school, running errands,  going to medical appointments, etc.

Questions about privacy must be answered

The widespread integration of anti-DWI technology in new cars and trucks must be approached with caution. While technological advancements hold promise, they're not infallible.

Consider the evolution of breath BAC tests: once hailed as nearly bulletproof evidence, they've since fallen from grace. Many courts now reject breathalyzer results due to their unreliability. Given this, the proposal to integrate BAC detection and anti-impairment tech into cars deserves skepticism. Important questions must be answered to protect individual rights before requiring vehicle manufacturers to include monitoring tech in new vehicles, such as:

  • What measures would be in place to prevent false positives that could unfairly penalize drivers?
  • When will drivers be tested? When starting the vehicle only, or throughout their travels?
  • How would the accuracy of these systems be continuously verified and maintained to uphold trust in their judicial application?
  • What safeguards are in place to protect individuals' privacy rights? Who will monitor test results, what information will they obtain, how will it be kept, and how will it be used?
  • How long will information obtained by the technology be retained, and how will it be stored and destroyed?
  • How can we ensure that integrating this technology into criminal justice proceedings maintains fairness, accuracy, and justice for the accused?

With tests, there is always room for mistakes that can result in false positives for impairment - human error, equipment defects, poor maintenance, misunderstood interpretation, lost data, mishandled specimens, and more. While technology may be a promising avenue for reducing DWI incidents, the integration of monitoring devices in all new vehicles gives the technology more authority than it deserves.

At Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer we have extensive experience fighting unreliable DWI test results. Our DWI attorneys know what it takes to demonstrate to prosecutors, judges, and juries technology's poor track record for accurately detecting impairment.

BAC test results are often wrong

As a former assistant district attorney, Amanda Webb is deeply familiar with the state’s criminal justice system. She uses this knowledge to fight for people facing DWI charges in Texas. Our legal team doesn't accept a prosecutor's narrative or police report as facts. We dig deep to find out exactly what happened so that we can fight for the best possible outcome of your case.

If you have been charged with DWI in Conroe, the Greater Houston Area, or a nearby community, contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation. A member of our team can listen to the details of what happened, explain your rights and options, and help you decide what to do next.

Texas DWI Penalties and the Role of Ignition Interlock Devices

Car keys and glass of alcohol on table in pub or restaurant.

Being charged with DWI can have lasting consequences.

There are a lot of penalties that come with a Texas DWI conviction - even for a first offense. One of the more long-term and inconvenient consequences is being ordered to use and maintain Ignition Interlock Devices, IIDs, on all vehicles. These small devices require drivers to provide a breath sample before ignition. If alcohol is detected or no sample is given, the vehicle will not start.

IIDs are intended to stop people convicted of DWI from driving under the influence. However, they are also prone to making errors that can cause trouble for someone trying to get their life back on track following a DWI conviction. Known IID issues include:

  • Detecting alcohol on a driver who recently used mouthwash.
  • Detecting alcohol on a driver who ate baked goods containing yeast and sugar (bread, donuts, etc.).
  • Equipment malfunction leading to false positive or incorrect reading.
  • Electrical connectivity problems.

A poorly functioning IID can stop a person from commuting to work, picking up their children, running errands, etc. It could also make a false violation report. Aggressively fighting drunk driving charges with the help of an experienced Conroe DWI attorney is the best way to avoid IID hassles. Here is more information about Texas' IIDs for DWIs program.

When did Texas start requiring IIDs?

In 2015, Texas overhauled some of its DWI laws. From this came the requirement that drivers with DWI-suspended licenses must use IIDs. If a driver fails an IID test, the device goes into a temporary lockout - usually about two minutes - before asking for a new breath sample. If the re-test fails, the IID will lock out again. Depending on the type of device, the testing process can continue until a clean breath sample is provided or completely lock the driver out, necessitating professional help to get it going again.

An IID lockout can do a lot more than make a person late or unable to get where they need to go. Failed tests may violate the driver's court order and lead to additional penalties, like fines, imprisonment, or license suspension/revocation. Although every case is unique, Texas typically considers the following IID-related violations:

  • Testing at or above the fail level - which could be lower than the standard 0.08 percent BAC.
  • Skipping or failing a rolling re-test.
  • Missing an IID service appointment.

Steps to apply for an IID Restricted Driver License in Texas

Following a DWI conviction, the court sends an IID order notice to the state licensing authority, which then issues a notice of cancelation of driving privileges. Usually, an individual has 30 days from the notice date to obtain and install an IID and apply for an IID license. Otherwise, their driving privileges are canceled.

  • Pay fees. The first thing an individual must do to obtain an IID-restricted license is pay interlock license and reinstatement fees.
  • Submit IID Restricted Driver License application. With fees paid, a driver is free to submit an application for an IID-restricted license. It can take up to 21 or more business days for the request to be processed.
  • Buy a certified IID. Drivers are required to purchase state-certified IIDs for each vehicle they regularly drive. In Montgomery County, the most frequently used IIDs are manufactured by Dräger, Intoxalock, LifeSafer, and Smart Start.
  • Make an appointment with a licensed installer. To satisfy court conditions, certified IIDs can only be installed by licensed IID service centers. Montgomery County has about a dozen facilities approved to install, maintain, or remove IIDs in Conroe, Hockley, Magnolia, Porter Heights, Spring, and Willis, among other communities.
  • Bring paperwork. At the installation, drivers are usually required to submit the following: two forms of photo ID, court paperwork, proof of residence, car insurance, and vehicle registration.
  • Monthly fees and service. Drivers must pay monthly IID rental fees and bring the devices in for servicing every 30 days.
  • Removing an IID. An IID can only be removed upon successful competition of a court order. Processing a removal request can take up to 21 or more business days. A service center will need a court seal or vendor removal form signed by a judge or county clerk before work can begin.
  • Get back on the road. Once the interlock restriction has been removed, a driver can apply for a duplicate license at any motor vehicle license office in Texas.

Experienced DWI defense that is always on your side

IIDs are not perfect. Last year, the Texas Regulatory Services Division received six complaints, conducted eight investigations, and did two inspections related to IIDs. If you were arrested for drunk driving in Conroe, Montgomery County, or the Houston area, don't accept the charges as a conviction, fight back. Contact Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer to arrange a free case evaluation.

DWI vs. Wet Reckless: Know the Difference and Your Options in Texas

Mug of frothy beer with handcuffs and keys symbolizing drunk driving arrest.

A DWI is a serious offense where you're charged with operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If you're facing DWI charges in Texas, Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer can help you explore your options. That includes potentially reducing your DWI charge to a wet reckless charge or having it dismissed entirely.

In Texas, a DWI conviction carries serious legal consequences. For a first-time offense, this may include:

  • A fine of up to $2,000
  • Jail time ranging from 72 hours to 180 days
  • Driver's license suspension for 90 days to one year

Penalties are typically higher for DWI offenses with a BAC of 0.15% or greater, second or subsequent DWI offenses, and DWI offenses involving a car accident.

How does a wet reckless charge differ from a DWI?

The term "wet reckless" is not formally recognized in Texas law. It generally refers to a plea bargain in other states where a driver's DWI charge is reduced to reckless driving with alcohol as a contributing factor. This reduction usually occurs when the evidence of intoxication is less clear, and it typically results in lesser penalties compared to a DWI.

Reckless driving typically carries lighter penalties compared to DWI. They include a fine of up to $200 and/or a maximum jail time of 30 days. These lighter penalties also mean a reckless driving conviction is less likely to adversely affect your future career and education prospects.

What other options do I have to reduce a DWI charge?

Aside from a wet reckless plea deal, DWI charges in Texas can be reduced under certain circumstances. One common approach to reducing DWI charges is through plea bargaining for an Obstruction of a Highway charge, which is classified under disorderly conduct. Unlike a DWI conviction, this charge carries less serious consequences and can be expunged from your Texas criminal record.

Key factors that can influence the reduction of DWI charges include:

  • The absence of prior convictions
  • Your BAC) at the time of arrest
  • Whether the officer conducted the arrest procedure properly

If your BAC was close to the legal limit or there were procedural errors in the arrest, such as improperly conducted field sobriety tests, these can be strong arguments in favor of reducing the charges. Additionally, if you cooperated with the authorities and didn't cause any harm while driving intoxicated, the court could reduce the charges.

Additionally, issues with breathalyzer test administration or violations of constitutional rights can lead to a reduction in charges.

How do I help strengthen my defense?

The best way to protect your rights is to know your rights. You don't have to answer any questions an officer asks. For example, you don't need to disclose whether you've had anything to drink or how much you've had to drink. You also don't have to take a field sobriety test. These tests are subjective and are often unreliable. Your refusal to participate can't be used against you in court.

If you're facing DWI charges in Texas, your freedom and future could be at stake. Let Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer, protect your rights and develop an effective defense strategy on your behalf. Using strong investigative and case-building skills, Attorney Webb has vast experience helping her clients fight or reduce DWI charges. She'll scrutinize the legality of the traffic stop, the breath or blood test results, and any violation of your constitutional rights.

Don't let a DWI arrest impact your life. Contact us online or call our Conroe law office to begin building your defense.

What Are the 3 Standard Field Sobriety Tests?

Man touches nose during a field sobriety test conducted by a police officer for suspicion of drunk driving.

Police often use field sobriety tests to determine if a driver is intoxicated by assessing their physical and mental capabilities. While performing these tests, police look for sensory clues such as your speech, odor, and demeanor to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest.

While a field sobriety test can lead to probable cause, the reliability of these tests is a subject of debate. According to the NHTSA’s Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Manual, the most accurate of the standardized tests has a maximum accuracy of 77% in detecting drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.10.

What three standard field sobriety tests does law enforcement use?

There are three primary standardized field sobriety tests endorsed by the NHTSA. These include:

  • Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test: This test is deemed the most reliable field sobriety test. It involves following an object with one’s eyes. Police often consider involuntary eye movements as an indicator of intoxication.
  • One-leg stand (OLS) test: When performing this test, you must stand on one leg and count to a specific number. Police will look for difficulty in maintaining balance and/or counting.
  • Walk-and-turn (WAT) test: This involves walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, turning, and walking back. When administering this test, police often look for problems with balance or following instructions.

Does failing a field sobriety test lead to a DWI conviction?

Several variables influence the effectiveness and fairness of FSTs. In Texas, failing an FST doesn't necessarily guarantee a DWI conviction. At the most, it can lead to an arrest. After an arrest, further testing (e.g., breathalyzer or blood test) is conducted to measure BAC. The results of these tests are more definitive and carry significant weight in court. However, they can still be disputed.

An experienced Texas DWI defense attorney can challenge the validity of these tests. The most common challenges that arise during field sobriety tests include:

  • Environmental and physical factors: Roadside conditions, such as uneven terrain, poor lighting, and extreme weather, often affect performance on field sobriety tests, especially if slipping and tripping hazards exist. Additionally, clothing and footwear choices (e.g., high heels or heavy boots) can hinder a person's ability to perform these tests.
  • Health and medication factors: There are various health issues that can impact someone's ability to perform a field sobriety test. These include inner ear disorders, arthritis, and eye problems. Medications and age-related factors can also affect balance and mobility without necessarily impairing driving ability.
  • Improper test administration: If an officer provides unclear instructions or demonstrates the tests improperly, it can lead to unfair failure. Even minor deviations in conducting the tests can significantly affect the outcomes.
  • Anxiety and stress: The stress of being pulled over often triggers fight-or-flight responses. This makes it difficult to focus on tasks or control body movements.

Should I take a field sobriety test?

In Texas, you're not legally required to submit to a field sobriety test. You have the right to politely refuse to participate in one. Refusing such a test isn't an admission of guilt, and it can't be used against you in court. Plus, there are no penalties for refusing. However, you can still be arrested if an officer has other reasons to believe you're driving while intoxicated.

What are my legal options if I'm arrested for DWI in Texas?

If you refused a field sobriety test and were still arrested, don't just assume you're out of options. Amanda Webb - DWI Lawyer can investigate your arrest and look for evidence to help you fight the charges. With a law office in Conroe, we serve clients across Texas. Call us or contact us online to schedule your free DWI case evaluation.