Houston Criminal Defense Attorney

How will a drunk driving conviction affect my insurance rates?

A DWI conviction in Texas can result in some severe penalties. Even a first offense will result in a license suspension for up to a year, a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of anywhere from three to 180 days. In addition to these administrative and criminal penalties, an individual convicted of drunk driving may find that their auto insurance premiums skyrocket.

In most cases, the insurance company will learn of the DWI conviction sooner or later. In order to get a driver's license reinstated after a DWI-related suspension, a driver has to confirm they have liability insurance. This is done by requesting a form called an SR-22 from the insurance company. When an insurance company receives a request for an SR-22, that generally leads them to check for a DWI conviction.

How much an individual's premiums may go up will depend on several factors. For a person with a first conviction and an otherwise clean driving record, the increase may be relatively modest. But, for second or subsequent offenses, or on a conviction for felony DWI arising out of an accident, premiums will likely go up significantly - if the insurer decides to keep covering the individual at all. The insurer can cancel a policy and drop a driver entirely for a DWI conviction.

The prospect of paying thousands more in insurance premiums is just one more reason to fight DWI charges. Defendants may be able to challenge the arrest, the breath test, the field sobriety testing and interpose any number of other defenses that could result in dismissal or reduction of the charges.

Source: Findlaw, "DWI and Insurance: Rates and Form SR-22," accessed June 14, 2015