After a DUI conviction, insurance companies will raise a convicted driver’s rates, typically doubling them. They will cancel the driver’s policy, considering them too risky to insure in many cases. At this point, drivers may search for DUI insurance. There is no such thing as DUI insurance per se.
Insurance providers who specialize in insuring high-risk individuals, like those convicted of a DUI, may market DUI insurance as an accessible and affordable option for high-risk drivers. Many newly established insurance providers offer this line of coverage to help drivers get back on the road and on with their lives, so make sure you do your research to find the best rates.
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Know the Law About Texas DUIs
- Drivers with a BAC of 0.08% are considered legally intoxicated and can be arrested for driving under the influence.
- You are required by law to submit to a test if asked by a police officer suspecting you of intoxication. Refusal can result in arrest and penalties.
- You have the right to request an Administrative License Revocation hearing with the DMV within 15 days of the receipt of suspension.
Getting DUI Insurance in Texas
Texas drivers who have received a DUI will need to regain their license and find an insurance provider that covers those with DUI’s. Follow these steps to get back on the road.
- Obtain an SR-22 — SR-22s are completed through an insurer who is willing to assign you a policy. An SR-22 is a notification to the state DMV that you carry at least the minimum insurance.
- Enroll in DWI school — DUI school benefits are state-dependent. If allowed, completing a sanctioned course can reduce your points. Many states do not allow taking a class to minimize penalties and points from DUI convictions.
- Obtain affordable auto coverage — A requirement of the SR-22, finding an affordable insurer is possible. However, your new premiums could be much higher, as much as 80%-100% higher.
- Install an ignition interlock device in your car — Many states require that you install an ignition interlock device to ensure you only operate your vehicle while sober.
When You’re Pulled Over for a DUI
When you’re pulled over, police will follow a standard procedure to determine if you’re driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The Police Stop You — Initially, when pulled over, police will have stopped you for suspicious driving, like swerving, or because you’ve violated some traffic rule, like a busted taillight. If they pulled you over with no reasonable cause, you could bring a motion to suppress, which may result in the case being thrown out.
- The Police Approach — As the police approach your car, they will make observations. They will note the vehicle’s conditions, smells emanating from it, and the driver and passengers’ behavior. They will ask you for your license and insurance, and they will also ask other questions to determine if you’ve had any drinks. They are determining your state and whether they should search your car.
- Vehicle Search — If the police smell drugs or alcohol, they have the right to inspect your vehicle, including the trunk and glove box.
- Standardized FST Battery (Field Sobriety Tests) — At this point, if the police suspect drunk driving, they will ask the driver to perform some basic field sobriety tests: horizontal gaze nystagmus, walk and turn, and one-leg standing. Research suggests that these three FSTs are enough to determine when someone is above a BAC of 0.01%.
- Breathalyzer Test — If the officer is sufficiently convinced that the driver is intoxicated, they will facilitate a breathalyzer test. Under “implied consent” laws, drivers are required to submit to a breathalyzer. However, the Supreme Court considered blood tests without warrants as unconstitutional and protected by the 4th amendment. But, refusing the tests does not protect you against penalties. In many states, refusing the breathalyzer test can mean license suspension or arrest.
- Arrest, Detention, Release — At this point, you can be arrested for driving under the influence. You will be charged immediately and taken to jail. Your license will be suspended, and you will be provided a temporary one. Your car will be impounded. Then you will stay in prison until released by court order or bailed out.
How Long Will a DUI in Texas Impact Your Insurance?
Driver’s have multiple records, an insurance record, a driving record, and a criminal record. Because a DUI may wind up on several of these, it is difficult to determine precisely how long a DUI will impact your insurance in your state. Insurers review your insurance record and most often have an average 3-5 year look-back period. You may begin to see your rates decrease after that time.
Penalties for DUIs in Texas
Penalties for driving under the influence are steep. If convicted, you will be looking at fees, fines, jail, license suspension, and possibly probation. If there is an associated injury or death with a DUI charge, your DUI can be elevated to a felony which carries even more significant penalties and prison time.
DUI While Underaged
Texas is a zero-tolerance state, and if you are under 21 and found driving with a BAC of 0.01%, you can be convicted of a DUI. First-time offenders will at minimum have their license suspended for up to a year plus a $500 fine. As BAC increases above certain limits, 0.05% and 0.08%, penalties become more severe. They can result in an adult misdemeanor DUI charge, up to 6 months in jail, fines, and be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID). Subsequently, further offenses can lead to more significant penalties.