In Texas, the legal limit for intoxication is .08 BAC (blood or breath alcohol concentration). If the police think you are Driving While Intoxicated, you can be arrested and charged with drunk driving regardless of your BAC level. Because the public opinion of drunk driving is so negative, prosecutors have to be very hard on those arrested for Driving While Intoxicated. However, just because you have been charged with drunk driving, doesn’t mean you are guilty. There are several factors that can be reviewed to determine the merit of your drunk driving case.
Our criminal defense law firm has over 200 years of combined legal experience in handling this type of criminal case and we can discuss with you the best way to handle your particular DWI case. The ramifications of a drunk driving arrest on your future could be severe, so don’t hire an attorney who is going to plead you guilty and not fight your case.
Texas DWI Penalties:
First DWI conviction in Texas
- Fine up to $2,000
- Up to Six months in jail
- Suspended driver’s license for up to a year
- $1,000 or $2,000 every year for three years to keep your driver’s license
Second DWI conviction in Texas
- Fine up to $4,000
- Up to one year in jail
- Suspended driver’s license for up to two years
- $1000 $1,500 or $2000 every year for three years to keep your driver’s license
Administrative License Revocation (ALR)
This is an administrative process by which the Department of Public Safety can suspend the driver’s license of someone who has been arrested for DWI in Texas. Your license can be suspended if you do not submit to a breath or blood test or your breath or blood test is .08 or higher. At the time you are charged with driving while intoxicated in Texas, the officer is required to take your license, give you a Notice of Suspension (a 40-day temporary permit). YOU ONLY HAVE 15 DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE NOTICE OF SUSPENSION TO REQUEST AN ALR HEARING! If you do not request this hearing, the license suspension goes into effect on the 40th day after the date of the Notice. If you request a hearing, the temporary driving permit remains in effect until the date of the final decision by the ALR judge.
The ALR hearing is important because it gives you the ability to fight to get your license back. Because the ALR is a separate civil proceeding that occurs along with the DWI criminal proceeding it is important to hire an attorney who handles both. At the ALR hearing, we can request certain items that give us great detail of your arrest and will give us clues as to how the State will handle the criminal portion of your DWI arrest.
Texas Occupational Driver’s License
If your license does end up getting suspended, we can try to arrange for you to continue to drive. An occupational license is a restricted license issued to those who have had their regular license suspended or revoked for certain offenses. With an occupational license you are able to operate non-commercial motor vehicles in connection with your job, school, or to perform essential household duties. There are certain requirements you must meet in order to obtain an occupational license in Texas. These include:
- The certified copy of the petition and a certified copy of the court order granting the occupational license
- An original pink SR-22 certificate of insurance. This is the only proof of insurance acceptable
- An occupational license fee for a one-year license or less
- A statutory reinstatement fee for the Safety Responsibility suspension, if required
- A statutory reinstatement fee for the Driver Improvement suspension, if required
- A statutory reinstatement fee for the Administrative License Revocation (ALR), if required
- All required reinstatement fee(s) must be paid prior to the issuance of the occupational license
We know that driving is vital to you to maintain employment. We will work to keep your license from being suspended or to get you an occupational license.
Texas Surcharge Program
Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) assesses surcharges to drivers based of particular traffic offenses. A driver is notified by mail each time a surcharge is added to their driving record. A surcharge is in an addition to other fees. Surcharges don’t replace a driving suspension, revocation, denial, disqualification or cancellation that has resulted from the same conviction. Surcharges are in addition to other fees.
Their are two ways a surcharge can be assessed:
- Point System
- Conviction Based
Drivers who have both points and convictions reported to their driver record will receive separate surcharges for each offense; a surcharge for the points and a surcharge for the conviction(s).
Point System: Points are assessed for traffic convictions. After the conviction has been added to your driving record, points are assigned and remain on your driving record for three (3) years from the date of conviction.
- Two (2) points are assessed for a Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction
- Three (3) points are assessed for a Texas or out-of-state traffic conviction that resulted in a crash
NOTE: Points are not assessed for drivers who complete defensive driving.
Drivers who have six (6) or more points on their driving record are assessed a surcharge every year they maintain six (6) or more points. Surcharges amounts are:
- $100 for the first six (6) points on your driving record
- $25 for each additional point after six (6)
Conviction Based: Drivers who receive a conviction for DWI, Subsequent DWI, DWI w/BAC .016+, No Insurance, DWLI, or No Drivers License will pay an annual surcharge for three (3) years from the date of conviction. See the Surcharge Fees based on Conviction chart below for the surcharges. The surcharges are assessed each year for three (3) years. Points aren’t assessed for these offenses, because the surcharge is automatic upon conviction.
Convictions are added to your driving record once DPS receives notification from the court. As a result, there may be a delay between the date of the actual conviction and when the conviction is added to your driving record.
Surcharge Fees based on Conviction
1st Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) – $1,000
Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter
Subsequent DWI – $1,500
Texas or out-of state conviction for DWI, Intoxication Assault or Manslaughter
DWI with Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.16 or More – $2,000
Texas or out-of state conviction
No Insurance – Up to $250
Driving While License Invalid (DWLI) – $250
Driver license is canceled, suspended, denied or revoked
No Driver License – Up to $100
No driver license or commercial driver license, or an expired license
The surcharge amount is assessed every year for three (3) years.
No Insurance and No Driver License Convictions: Drivers convicted of No Insurance, but they had insurance at the time of the offense, can submit proof of insurance to DPS. The suspension for the No Insurance offense will be waived, but the driver will still have to pay the surcharge.
Recent legislation revised: Drivers can reduce their No Insurance surcharge to $125 per year, if they obtain a motor vehicle liability insurance policy and prepay six (6) months of insurance. The insurance policy has to be obtained no later than 60 days from the date of offense. To receive the reduction, drivers must provide evidence of both to the DPS.
Drivers can reduce their No driver License surcharge to $50 per year, if they obtain a driver’s license no later than 60 days from the date of offense. Drivers must submit a copy of their temporary drivers permit to the Department of Public Safety’s Enforcement and Compliance Service to receive the reduction. Valid drivers license also include an occupational, commercial, and interlock/restricted.
Payment of Surcharges
Surcharges must be paid within 105 days or your drivers license will be suspended for failure to comply with the surcharge requirements. The driver’s driving privileges will remain suspended until an installment agreement is established or all surcharges and related costs are paid in full.
Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Indigency / Incentive Program
The Driver Responsibility Indigency Program and Incentive Program give drivers the ability to comply with surcharges owed under the Driver Responsibility Program and maintain driving privileges. The surcharges are waived under the Indigency Program, but under the Incentive Program, the surcharges aren’t waived, but they are reduced. The purpose of these programs is to make allow drivers to become licensed, obtain financial liability insurance, and keep our roads safe.
Indigency Program by the Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Program
Indigency Program Chart
125% of the 2016 HHS Poverty Guidelines
Indigency Program: The Indigency Program is for those who are living at or below 125% of the federal poverty level, defined annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. For approved applicants, surcharges will be waived with accounts totaling a zero balance.
Incentive Program by the Texas DPS Driver Responsibility Program
Incentive Program Chart
300% of the 2016 HHS Poverty Guidelines
Incentive Program: The Incentive Program is for those who are living above 125%, but are below 300% federal poverty level. The federal poverty level is defined annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Applicants who are approved for the Incentive Program will have their surcharge fees reduced by 50% of the total assessed amount (service fees apply).
After being approved for a reduction under the Incentive program, individuals must pay the reduced balance in full within six (6) months. During this period al surcharge suspensions will be lifted. If the balance isn’t paid in full by the due date, driving privileges will be suspended until the reduced balance is paid in full.
The Indigency Program and Incentive Program will not remove other suspensions on the driving record.
Award Winning Texas Criminal Defense Attorneys
DWI · First Time Offenders · Felony DWI · DWI w/Child Under 15
Just because you’ve been charged with a DWI doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Call the criminal attorneys at Dunham & Jones today for help.