It's no surprise to anyone that being charged with driving while impaired will lead to a loss of your driving privileges--it's even common knowledge that you could spend time in jail after a conviction. These punishments are obvious and expected. These are referred to as collateral consequences of a DWI conviction.
DWI convictions have additional ramifications that you may not think about, however, and the consequences aren't temporary--they can affect a person throughout his or her life. One such ramification is the requirement to obtain SR-22 insurance. It may seem minimal, but it can carry a hefty price tag for some time to come.
SR-22 Insurance: What is it?
SR-22 insurance is a more common name for a "Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate," which is a document that verifies a person has liability insurance for his or her vehicle. The insurance is required for drivers who commit certain wrongdoings, like getting in too many car wrecks, or getting too many traffic tickets, or refusing to submit to a blood alcohol test.
When Am I Required to Carry SR-22 Insurance?
If you have had your driver's license suspended or revoked, you are required to carry SR-22 insurance in order to be allowed to reinstate your license. SR-22 insurance must be carried for quite some time--two years from the date of your conviction, to be exact. It's critical to keep this document updated, as your insurance provider is required to let the Department of Public Safety know if your SR-22 is canceled or lapses.
What are the Requirements for SR-22 Insurance?
Texas maintains minimum requirements for SR-22 insurance coverage, so in order for the state to accept your SR-22 form, your liability insurance must at a minimum meet the following requirements:
- $30,000 of bodily injury per person;
- $60,000 of bodily injury per accident; and
- $25,000 of property damage per accident.
Why is SR-22 Insurance Expensive?
Getting SR-22 insurance isn't only a pain to you--it's a pain to your wallet. While the form itself only costs a few dollars to file with the Department of Public Safety, the policy generally ends up costing significantly more than your standard policy. This is because your insurance company can raise your rate based on the traffic violation you committed, and a DWI violation -- or rather a conviction of a DWI -- can increase your insurance premium significantly.
Additional Insurance-Related Implications of a DWI Conviction
If you've been convicted of driving while impaired in Houston, SR-22 insurance isn't the only non-criminal penalty that you will face. Additional ramifications of a DWI conviction include:
- License suspension: if convicted of DWI, your license will be suspended for a period of time that is dependent upon the circumstances surrounding your DWI arrest. During this period of time, you can face further punishment if you are caught driving while your license is suspended.
- License renewal surcharges: the repercussions of a DWI charge don't end once your period of suspension is up; with the implementation of the Driver Responsibility Program, once you are able to regain your driver's license, you can be forced to pay a surcharge on top of other fees to reinstate your license. These surcharges can be thousands of dollars depending on your conviction.
- Increase in standard auto insurance premiums: after your DWI conviction, your car insurance company may label you as a high-risk driver. This can mean an increase in your standard auto insurance premiums.
Charged with DWI In Houston? Doug Murphy is Here
If you have been charged with driving while impaired in Houston or a surrounding area of Texas, your top priority should be finding a seasoned DWI defense attorney who will zealously fight on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.
Doug Murphy is proud to have established a reputation of quality representation for his clients and is ready to accept the challenge of your DWI charge. Getting arrested is stressful, but handling your charge doesn't have to be--let Doug Murphy take the reins and defend against your DWI charge for you. To speak with a member of our legal team about your charge, fill out an online consultation form or call (713) 229-8333 today.