It isn’t altogether uncommon: People go out of state to go on vacation—including to Texas—and perhaps get stopped by a police officer after they’ve had a few drinks, getting charged with a DWI.
If this has happened to you, it is entirely possible that both Texas and your home state will initiate an administrative license suspension, and you could get prosecuted for the DWI via the Texas courts. All of this can have serious repercussions on your future.
Once you receive a DWI in Texas, the arresting officer will typically send a report to the Texas motor vehicle office. However, you do have time to appeal the suspension: In Texas, you have 15 days from your arrest to request an administrative license revocation hearing in order to appeal the suspension.
Reporting To & License Suspension in Your Home State
While it is important to note that this initial suspension on affects your ability to drive in Texas, it becomes final if you fail to request a hearing or lose the hearing after requesting one, and this final suspension is then reported to your home state. Depending upon the law in your home state, your license to drive there could be suspended as well, and you will likely need to pay a reinstatement fee in every state in which your license was suspended.
Also note that all DWIs are reported to the National Driver Registry, which is then consulted when a license is issued or renewed. If you get a DWI in Texas—regardless of whether it is ever reported to your home state—your home state can refuse to issue or renew your license if it is currently suspended in Texas.
DWI Penalties in Texas
In Texas, the penalties for a first-time DWI (Class B Misdemeanor) include a fine of up to $2,000 and a jail sentence of between three and 180 days (in addition to driver’s license suspension). A second offense can cost $4,000, and a third $10,000.
In addition, there are also penalties in your home state: it can suspend your license in accordance with what state law requires, and if you have already been convicted of a DWI in that state, it will count as a second offense, with subsequent penalties that match a second offense DWI in your home state. This means that if you’ve already been convicted of a DWI in your home state, you could face your license being suspended for years.
Working With a DWI Attorney
If you have received a DWI, it is crucial that you work with an attorney before the initial court date, as important dates start to run from the initial plea date, whereby you go to court and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty. And if you fail to show up for your court date, a warrant will be issued for your arrest (in addition to the license suspension).
If you received a DWI while in Texas, contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys today to find out how we can provide you with guidance.