Out-of-State DWI Can Follow You Back to Texas
You may be familiar with the Texas laws regarding driving while intoxicated, but what happens if you are charged and convicted for DWI in another state? Do the penalties from another state also apply in Texas? What if you are a visitor to Texas who is charged with DWI? Your criminal case would take place in the state where you are charged. If convicted, you could pay fines and serve jail time in that state. However, some DWI penalties, such as a driver’s license suspension, can be transferred to your home state.
Texas is one of 45 states that are members of the Driver License Compact Commission. Participating states agree to share information about any traffic violations and convictions with the subject’s home state. A state court’s authority is limited to your activities within that state. Thus, it cannot suspend your driving privileges within another state. With the Interstate Compact, your home state will know about your DWI arrest or conviction and has agreed to suspend your license as if you committed the offense in your home state.
Penalties in Texas
Texas has an automatic administrative license suspension of 90 to 180 days if you are arrested on suspicion of DWI. You can attend an administrative hearing to contest your suspension, even if your arrest took place outside of Texas. If you are convicted, your license will be suspended:
- 90 days to one year for a first offense if you do not opt for the ignition interlock device;
- Six months to two years for a second offense; or
- 60 days to six months if you are younger than 21 and had a blood alcohol concentration below 0.08.
Texas cannot penalize you if the DWI offense you committed in another state would not have been illegal in Texas. For instance, Utah just lowered its BAC limit to 0.04. Texas could not suspend your license if you had a BAC below 0.08, even though it was illegal in Utah.
Georgia, Massachusetts, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin are the five states that are not members of the Interstate Compact. Massachusetts has its own policy for notifying other states about DWI arrests. The other four states will not share that information directly with your home state. However, they will enter your arrest or conviction into the National Driver Registry. When it comes time to renew your license, your home state may deny your renewal based on your DWI record.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Attorney
A San Antonio DWI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock can represent you if you are a visitor to Texas who was charged with DWI. If you are a Texas resident who was charged in another state, you also need a local attorney to handle your administrative hearing on your driver’s license. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-726-5625.