Texas has always been tough on drivers convicted of DWI, but according to the Dallas Morning News, effective September 1, 2015, if an individual wants to apply for a post conviction occupational license they will have to install an ignition interlock device on all of their cars.
Prior to the new law, first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) under 0.15 were given the option of installing an ignition interlock device in their car to get a restricted license.
Certain groups say the new law also expands the rights of some drivers who will now be able to drive as long as their blood alcohol concentration at the time of their DWI arrest was less than 0.15 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.
Signed by Governor Greg Abbott, this new law has been hailed by MADD – Mother’s Against Drunk Driving- because they believe it will lower the chance of DWI accidents and fatalities. MADD has also seen this as a great victory in their continual efforts to get all states to require the use of the ignition interlock devices. Approximately half of all states currently have such a law.
Texas Law allows previously suspended drivers the right to drive
Proponents of the new law also argue that it adds consistency in sentencing guidelines. Prior to the law, there were complaints that certain drivers received a license suspension while other drivers, who had their cases heard my certain judges, had their license suspension circumvented, leading to a lack of uniformity in sentencing for drivers who committed the same offense.
In fact, experts contend that judges in rural areas of the state were much more likely to allow exceptions to the rule of suspension while judges in large Texas cities, such as Dallas, rarely did. Experts also argue that this will eliminate the common practice of drivers operating their motorized vehicles with a suspended license.
What if I don’t want to install an ignition interlock device?
Drivers who choose not to install the ignition interlock device will still have that right, but they also will have to serve their suspension. The ability of certain drivers to refuse the device has also left groups concerned with individual rights satisfied.
Administrative Driving Suspension and ignition interlock laws
It’s important to understand, however, that the interlock requirement only applies to those who have been convicted of DWI. Drivers who have their driver’s license suspended because they refused to take a chemical test or because their BAC was above a .08 after a required chemical test do not have the option to install the device and drive during the administrative license suspension.
Drivers of commercial vehicles will also not have the right to request an operational license or install an ignition interlock device to operate a commercial vehicle after a DWI arrest and conviction.
Texas DWI laws have been updated to allow certain drivers convicted of DWI the right to install an ignition interlock device and operate their vehicle under certain conditions while they are under a DWI license suspension. Due to the complexity of DWI it’s important to discuss your case with a DWI lawyer in Texas.
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