Texas assesses multiple penalties against those accused of driving while intoxicated (DWI). If you plead guilty or get convicted in court, you might face jail time, fines and also the loss of your license for an impaired driving charge.
Most DWI offenses result in between one and two years of license suspension. Repeat offenses and other aggravating factors, like the presence of children in the vehicle, may substantially increase the length of the license suspension.
Losing your license can be a significant hardship for someone with a job or a family. You won’t be able to reliably get to and from work or take other family members where they need to be. After a DWI conviction, you may realize that you need a restricted interlock license.
What is a restricted interlock license?
When the state suspends your license, you don’t necessarily have to go a year or longer without driving. A restricted interlock license can allow you back on the road for the duration of what would otherwise be a suspension.
However, you will only be able to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device installed. These devices require a chemical breath test every time you start a vehicle to prove that you do not have alcohol in your bloodstream. Provided you comply with the restrictions on your license, you can continue driving, working and caring for your family.
Of course, there are costs involved with obtaining your restricted interlock license, including the cost to install and routinely maintain and re-calibrate the ignition interlock device (IID) that you have installed in your vehicle.
Still, when weighing those costs against the potential losses you can suffer when you are unable to drive or a year or longer, paying for an IID and performing a test every time you start your vehicle may seem like a small price to continue driving.
You could avoid a restricted license by fighting the DWI
Some people will need help navigating the process of applying for a restricted interlock license, but others will desperately want to avoid those restrictions. Either approach may require planning and support.
Fighting the DWI charge, possibly by challenging the breath test results or submitting medical evidence, could help you avoid a restricted license and all the expenses that come with it.