Did you know Sullo & Sullo Attorneys have MORE NOT GUILTY JURY VERDICTS at Houston Municipal Court than any other Law Firm (2009-2014, 2017, 2018)?
Getting Liability Insurance After a DWI in Texas - If you have a conviction for a DWI in Texas, your auto insurance is absolutely going to get much more expensive. The only question lies in just how much more expensive. According to Insurance Zebra, a DWI in Texas conviction can boost your yearly auto insurance costs by about $650. And that is for a first-time DWI offense. If you are looking at a second, third or subsequent DWI in Texas offense, the amount your yearly insurance costs will increase will be substantially more—that is, if you can even get an insurance company to insure you at all. Auto insurance in Texas is already high—the average rate for auto insurance for a driver across the United States is $1,397.11, while the average rate for auto insurance for a driver in Texas is $1,809.62. This amount increases about 36 percent in Texas following a first-time DWI.
It can be frustrating to find auto insurance following a DWI conviction. Insurers are less likely to want to insure you—and more likely to charge you extremely high premiums if they will insure you. The process is much less than straightforward; DWI offenses in the state lead to greater leaps in auto insurance premiums than virtually any other driving violation (more than reckless driving, more than an accident for which you were at fault, and even more than a ticket for racing).
It is important to note that insurance premiums following a DWI in Texas can vary widely from one insurance company to another. Insurance Zebra found that Texas Farm Bureau provides the best yearly rates for auto insurance following a DWI conviction, followed by USAA, State Farm, GEICO, Progressive, Allstate and Home State. Home State Rates are three times as high as Texas Farm Bureau, with the other companies coming in somewhere between Texas Farm Bureau and Home State. Of course, the driver’s age and gender, as well as whether this is a first, second, or subsequent DWI all have bearing on insurance rates.
What is an SR-22? You may have heard the term SR-22 and are unsure what it is and whether you need it or not. The state of Texas requires anyone with a DWI conviction to file a Form SR-22 Insurance Certificate with the Department of Public Safety. The SR-22 is a certificate verifying that you have maintained your automobile insurance, and while you can obtain an SR-22 from most insurance companies, you will be forced to have expensive minimum liability amounts.
Remember, it is not sufficient to file an SR-22 with DPS when you get your driver’s license reinstated, you must also carry a copy of the SR-22 certificate any time you drive—a regular insurance card will not be accepted in lieu of an SR-22. In the state of Texas, the minimum liability amounts are: $30,000 for bodily injury or death, $60,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people in the same accident, and $25,000 for damage or destruction of property of others in an auto accident. There are three types of SR-22 certificates in Texas. These three types include:
- SR-22 Owner’s Certificate which covers you while driving any vehicle you personally own;
- Non-Owner SR-22 Certificate which covers you for vehicles you do not own, but have permission from the owner to drive, and
- SR-22 Owner-Operator Certificate, which covers you to operate both vehicles you own and those you do not own but have permission to drive.
You cannot get your driver’s license reinstated in the state of Texas without an SR-22. The SR-22 certifies you are carrying the liability insurance required under Texas law. Not only will you need an SR-22 for a DWI in Texas, you also need one if you have been convicted of any of the following offenses:
- Having multiple unpaid Texas tickets;
- An excessive number of traffic violations
- Driving on a suspended driver’s license;
- Failing to pay the full amount following a liability claim;
- Driving on an invalid driver’s license, or
- Having no auto insurance.
Once you obtain an SR-22, you must maintain it for two years from the date of your conviction. If you want to have your driver’s license reinstated, you must file the SR-22 with DPS, along with a reinstatement fee of $125. If your driver’s license was suspended due to a Texas DWI, you will be required to pay an extra $100 reinstatement fee, for a total of $225.
If you properly file your SR-22, then allow your policy to lapse or have your policy cancelled, your insurance company will notify DPS, and DPS will likely suspend your driver’s license. Driving without valid insurance is a Class C misdemeanor, with fines as large as $500. Driving with a suspended driver’s license is also a Class C misdemeanor, however this offense can be enhanced if you have a history of driving without a license.
How a Sullo & Sullo Houston DWI Attorney Can Help - If you have been charged with a DWI in Texas, there are many details you will be forced to deal with. You have your criminal trial to face, as well as an Administrative Hearing which will determine whether you will lose your driver’s license, and for how long. At Sullo & Sullo, we understand what kind of lasting impact a DWI conviction will have on your freedom, your finances and your auto insurance, and we believe we can help.
We will aggressively fight on your behalf for the best outcome possible to your DWI in Texas charges. We understand that whenever possible, you want to avoid Harris County jail time, as well as Harris County criminal records. We will thoroughly assess the charges against you, formulating a solid defense for you. From our free consultation to our payment plans, everything we do is in your favor. Contact Sullo & Sullo today.