Your Criminal Record
In the past, a Texas DWI (even a first offense) would stay on your criminal record indefinitely. You would be required to disclose your conviction every time an employer, a landlord or even a lender asks for the rest of your life. With the recent passage of HB 3016, however, certain first-time DWI offenders may petition the court for a Nondisclosure after an applicable waiting period (usually 2-5 years).
Petitioning for a Nondisclosure is a complicated legal process, however, especially if the court challenges it, meaning you will need to work with an attorney on this step. And, for at least a few years following your conviction, you must disclose your DWI when asked by employers, lenders, landlords, insurance companies and even some schools.
Getting Back on the Road
A DWI license suspension will remain on your Texas driving record permanently. Even after you reinstate your license, you will face increased insurance rates for several years.
Furthermore, Texas requires proof of financial responsibility following certain convictions or license suspensions, including DWIs. Proof of financial responsibility is better known as an SR-22 filing. SR-22 filings ensure drivers have the minimum level of liability insurance, and you must maintain it for two years following a DWI conviction.
While your car insurance carrier may cancel your policy for being a “high-risk” driver, some companies provide SR-22 filings exclusively, allowing you to maintain your current auto insurance policy and meet the Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) SR-22 requirement. The DPS will also charge you an annual surcharge of $1,000 (for a first-time offense) to $2,000 for three years to maintain your license.
The bottom line is you should expect to face significant costs if you want to drive again after a DWI conviction. When you calculate the costs of increased insurance rates, the SR-22 filing and the DPS surcharges alone, you can begin to see just how costly moving on from your DWI can be.
Fight Your Charges Now, or Deal With the Consequences Later
Moving on from a DWI conviction isn’t as simple as you’d think. Unless you want to face the stigma of a DWI conviction for the rest of your life, you will have to head back to court a few years to ask the court to remove it from your record, and the judge could deny your request.
You will also face significant ongoing costs just to drive your car, which, for many, is a necessity. You could also face community service, DWI classes, a lengthy license suspension, jail time or even have to install an ignition interlock device in your car.
In sum, moving on from a DWI isn’t easy or cheap. Conversely, having an initial discussion about fighting your DWI charges with an attorney is easy and, typically, free. You owe it to yourself to fully explore your options for fighting your charges before you plead guilty. A Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney can give you the rundown of the potential penalties you could face and outline your options for beating your charges.
If you’re facing DWI/DUI charges and want to fight them in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can avoid the lasting negative consequences of a conviction. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.