Many drivers visit Texas for tourism, business conferences, or pass through on a long cross-country drive. When drivers from other states are on the road in Texas, those drivers are subject to Texas traffic and criminal laws. An arrest for drunk driving in Texas can result in criminal charges and the penalties can follow the driver after returning to their home state. A Texas DWI for out-of-state residents can be more complicated than an in-state DWI or DUI because the driver will have to deal with the drunk driving charge twice. If you are an out-of-state resident with a DWI in Texas, contact Texas DWI lawyer Jason S. English to protect your driving privileges and avoid a criminal conviction.
Out-of-State Residents with a Texas DWI
A valid driver's license issued in another state gives you the right to drive on Texas roads. However, out-of-state drivers still have to follow Texas traffic laws. Most states have similar drunk driving laws, whether called driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a DUI or OUI. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% will generally be charged with a per se DWI. Unfortunately, unfamiliarity with Texas roads or traffic laws may make out-of-state drivers more likely to be pulled over or arrested. For example, a tourist who goes to a Texas football game returns to their hotel after having a couple of beers. The driver may be following directions on their phone and accidentally roll through a red light. This could alert the police to a traffic violation, and after smelling alcohol on the driver, the driver may end up under arrest.
Texas Criminal Charges and Penalties for Out-of-State Drivers
Texas cannot take away your driver's license issued in another state. Texas can only restrict your in-state driving privileges. However, you will still face Texas criminal charges and penalties for breaking the law in Texas. The penalties for a DWI include:
|Conviction||Offense Level||Fine||Jail or Prison|
|1st Offense DWI||Class B Misdemeanor||Up to $2,000||72 Hours to 180 Days|
|2nd Offense DWI||Class A Misdemeanor||Up to $4,000||30 Days ot 1 Year|
|3rd Offense DWI||3rd Degree Felony||Up to $10,000||2 to 10 Years|
To answer to criminal charges, you are generally required to appear in person or have your attorney appear on your behalf. Returning to Texas for every court hearing can be expensive and time-consuming. Talk to your Texas DWI defense lawyer about how to deal with a DWI from out of state. Your lawyer may be able to handle your DWI case on your behalf so you do not have to come back to Texas for every court hearing or even to fight the criminal charges.
Texas DWI Affects Your State Driving Privileges
Just because you got a DWI in Texas does not mean that it will not affect your home state driving privileges. There are a couple of ways an out-of-state DUI or DWI can impact your driver's license. A DWI arrest involves an administrative license revocation as well and license penalties after a conviction. Most states, including Texas, are part of the Driver's License Compact (DLC). Traffic violations, including DWIs, are reported to other member states. Additionally, the National Driver Register (NDR) is a database of information about drivers who have been convicted of serious driving violations and drivers who have had their licenses suspended or revoked.
Administrative License Suspension Challenge
After a DWI arrest, you have 15 days to request an Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Hearing. If you do not request a hearing in time, your Texas driving privileges will be automatically suspended beginning 40 days after the arrest. Depending on your state, suspended privileges in one state may carry over to your own driving privileges. This 15-day time limit is one of the first things you should be concerned about after a DWI. Talk to your Texas DWI defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest.
License Suspension After a DWI Conviction
If you successfully challenge the ALR hearing or your state does not recognize the Texas driving suspension, you may still need to worry about a possible DWI conviction. Texas can suspend your driving privileges if you are convicted of a DWI. Texas may also report your Texas DWI conviction to other members of the DLC or NDR. A drunk driving conviction in Texas may result in your home-state suspending or revoking your driving privileges. In order to get your license reinstated after a Texas DWI, you may need to satisfy the requirements of the Texas DWI penalties, including paying fine and completing alcohol education courses, in addition to satisfying your home state requirements.
Austin DWI Defense For Out-of-State Residents
If you have a driver's license issued by California, Louisiana, Florida, or any state other than Texas, a DWI arrest in Texas can be a real headache without the help of a local defense lawyer. Jason S. English was a criminal prosecutor for 15 years. He understands what prosecutors are thinking in a DWI case involving an out-of-state driver. If you are accused of a DWI in Texas, speak to a criminal defense attorney right away. Contact Texas DWI lawyer Jason S. English online or call (512) 454-7548. With his many years of experience prosecuting DWIs, Jason S. English is well-prepared to fight for your constitutional rights.