You probably already know that a DWI in Texas, or anywhere for that matter, can severely impact your life. You could face major fines, license suspension or revocation, and even jail time. But sometimes people neglect to think about the long-term effects of a DWI on their lives.
Those who have been convicted of a DWI often continue to be punished throughout their lives, particularly if it went on their record as a felony or if there were aggravating factors to the arrest (such as multiple offenders). They may struggle to find jobs, which of course can lead to monetary struggles. This financial snowball effect can have an extremely detrimental impact on numerous other aspects of one’s life, such as the ability to afford auto insurance.
Compounding the issue is what happens to car insurance rates following a DWI conviction. Though there is no specific rule that states your rates must rise, you are likely going to have to pay a great deal more to maintain even the bare minimum required amount of auto insurance.
First, you can expect to lose any safe driver discounts you may have had. These discounts often go a long way towards keeping rates in an affordable range for drivers, and simply losing them could be enough to make you struggle to foot the bill.
Next, your rates are likely to rise as much as 2 to 5 times what they were before. This can literally mean thousands of dollars more per year. Insurance companies generally look at your driving record when determining whether or not to grant you a policy, and once they see a DWI conviction on the record, they will probably label you as “high risk.”
“High risk” drivers, in the eyes of auto insurance companies, represent a more dangerous investment, meaning the driver’s history demonstrates that they are more likely to cost the insurance company money, so the company will require such drivers to pay a great deal more to make up for that risk.
Texas residents who have had their license suspended in the past due to a DWI are also required to file an SR-22 form in order to get auto insurance. The “SR” stands for “safety responsibility,” and this form serves as proof that you are maintaining at least the minimum level of liability insurance required in the State of Texas. You must keep this form active and valid for 24 months, and if you do not renew it when needed your license will be suspended until you renew your SR-22. This is another added complication that will likely cost you extra money.
While some states may remove a DWI conviction from one’s record after a certain period of time, a conviction in Texas will, unfortunately, remain on your record permanently, which will make it very difficult to ever receive more affordable auto insurance rates again. There are some circumstances where you might be able to receive an Order of Nondisclosure from the court with regard to a DWI, (if reduced to a lesser offense and adjudication is deferred), but you will want to consult with an attorney about whether that is a possibility in your case.
The Medlin Law Firm is dedicated to helping you avoid the detrimental impacts of DWI convictions in Texas, including exorbitantly priced auto insurance. If you have been arrested for a DWI, please give us a call and let us fight to help you take your life back.