How Long Does a DUI Affect Your Insurance in Texas? Find Out Right Here
The cost of Texas car insurance is already quite high without the added complications of a previous DUI conviction. These are exactly the sort of situations that an insurance company will be quick to exploit.
When a DUI charge is added on top of other factors that insurance companies use to determine how much auto insurance premiums an individual is liable to pay, the car insurance rates will skyrocket. That is why it is important for drivers to always maintain a clean driving record.
However, that is not always the case, as mistakes do happen and people find themselves having to deal with a DUI conviction that will increase their insurance premiums. These days, issues such as being convicted of drunk driving have a way of messing up a lot of things in a person's life.
Sparks Law Firm has helped a lot of people in that situation, obtaining a stellar win ratio whenever issues needed to be ironed out before a judge. Come to our offices today for the best legal advice with regards to a DUI violation and its effect on car insurance in Texas.
Car Insurance Law in Texas
According to Texas law, all drivers must have, at minimum, $30,000 of coverage for injuries per person, $60,000 coverage for an accident, and $25,000 set aside to cover property damage. This is already a lot of money for insurance premiums before even considering a DUI charge which will mean a driver becomes eligible for only high-risk insurance.
Getting a criminal record for DUI is one way to end up being considered a high-risk driver, and once that happens, it is not easy to pay normal premiums. A waiting period is usually required during which time drivers will suffer under the pressure of high insurance premiums.
How Does One Get a Criminal Record in Texas?
Criminal records are taken very seriously in the United States, and the Texas legislature is very clear on what it takes for a person to end up with one. There are two ways through which someone might find themselves with a criminal record against their name, and these are listed below.
In most cases, after a DWI arrest, a person will be asked to plead either guilty or not guilty to the criminal charges being brought against them. There are a variety of reasons why the accused might prefer to plead guilty rather than fight the case. They may have realized that the evidence against them is overwhelming, for example, and therefore, decide to enter into a plea agreement in return for having their charges reduced.
Being Found Guilty After Having Pleaded Not Guilty
There are situations where a person decides to plead not guilty, either of their own free will or after following the advice of their defense attorney. The expectation will be that either the judge dismisses the case, or at the very least, hands the accused a not guilty verdict, but this, unfortunately, is not the case.
Due to various reasons, such as strong evidence against the accused, or ill advice from their defense attorney, the case might be lost leaving them with a criminal conviction to answer to. At Sparks Law Firm, we offer a free consultation to discuss each individual case to prevent this from happening to any of our clients.
What Does DUI Stand for?
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence. In its simplest definition, DUI means the offense of operating, driving, or controlling a car while one's judgment, perception, and reactions are impaired by drugs or alcohol, to such an extent that it is not safe to do so.
A DUI should not be confused with a DWI conviction, where the latter refers to Driving While Intoxicated. However, with regards to their negative effect on one's insurance premiums, these two are virtually the same.
What Causes DUI Charges in Texas?
As soon as one's driving is affected by alcohol or drugs in their system, then one can be considered to be breaking Texas law. However, they are deemed to be legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol levels are above 0.08 %.
Most drivers who are charged with DUI do so after being subjected to a breathalyzer test by law enforcement officials. However, in Texas, even without a breathalyzer, a driver can receive a DUI charge after the fact. What this means is that the police are only required to believe there is enough evidence to suggest that the driver was driving while intoxicated. That is deemed enough to pursue a charge of DUI against them.
Police are trained to identify various clues to indicate that the driver is driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. With this limited information, one can find themselves with a DUI charge and an inflated auto insurance premium.
How Auto Insurance Is Affected by Dui Charges
Every Texas car insurance company takes DUI charges very seriously and this is reflected in the different car insurance premiums that are offered to people with a history of DUI compared to those with a clean record. The amount of money spent by convicted drivers on auto liability insurance is a lot more than other drivers.
Furthermore, the following are some of the effects on their car insurance premium and other finances that a DUI convicted driver will experience:
The auto insurance company can increase its premiums by an average of 72% more for drivers with a tarnished driving record. This is on top of the other fines that the driver is ordered to pay by the courts.
The driver is labeled as a high-risk insurance case, and this will affect any future auto insurance applications they might make including trying to seek a new insurance policy.
In case of a car accident, the process of claiming compensation from an insurance company will become more complicated and usually results in a more difficult and lengthy investigation by all associated car insurance companies.
The driver is not offered any benefits from his car insurance policy, such as awards for good driving, and claim free bonuses that other drivers will enjoy.
The driver will have to bear this inflated insurance coverage for a period usually lasting about two years unless the DUI can be successfully appealed during this time and the criminal record expunged.
How Long Does A DWI Negatively Affect Your Auto Insurance Premiums In Texas?
Under Texas law, a convicted driver is expected to have special proof of auto liability insurance for not less than two years from the day of being convicted for a DUI. They are also expected to pay additional fees to the Texas Department of Public Safety for not more than three years.
Even after this mandatory period has passed, drivers may still find themselves paying higher car insurance premiums because their criminal record will still reflect the DUI every time insurance companies run a background check on them.
Even first-time offenders experience the same skyrocketing rates for insurance after a DUI regardless of how minor the incident was. At times, they may be forced to find a different car insurance provider that s willing to overlook the DUI, but such a company is usually unreliable and charges a very high car insurance rate anyway. (On a related note, find out what are the penalties for first offense zero-tolerance DUI.)
The only way to get a clean driver's license again and restore the all-important driving privileges is to approach a law firm with experienced attorneys, such as Sparks Law Firm, and have the DUI record expunged from the driver's criminal record. We offer a free consultation to discuss how best to do this.
How To Regain Affordable Insurance After a DUI
Returning to paying ordinary insurance rates after being convicted of drunk driving is not easy because such charges have a serious impact on a person's driving record, and might even mean their driver's license is withheld for several years after the incidents.
Most insurance companies are very quick to take advantage of this situation because every insurance agent is trained to look for such things as a bad driving history so they can charge more for liability coverage.
This is certainly not something that can be easily erased without the help of the top DWI attorney in Fort Worth TX. With the right lawyer fighting for them, drivers can have their driver's license suspension revoked, their criminal record expunged, and find themselves qualifying for more than just the minimum coverage offered by car insurance companies.
Sparks Law Firm Can Help!
At Sparks Law Firm, we have made a name for ourselves fighting for people being victimized by an insurance company due to their previous DUI charges. We have a deep understanding of what the law in Texas says about the rights of every driver and we can help the convicted driver get more than just the minimum coverage.
Visit our law offices in Fort Worth today for a free consultation to discuss what we can do to help minimize the lasting effects of a DUI record. Our lawyers can help address various questions and concerns, including how long you may go to jail for a 5th DWI. Come and experience our world-class attorney-client relationship as we take charge of your fight to get fair premiums.