How Do I Reinstate My Driver’s License After a DWI?

how to reinstate my drivers license in texas after a dwi? - herman martinez - criminal defense attorney explains

“How do I reinstate my driver’s license after a DWI?”, people often wonder. After you serve the suspension, there’s a specific series of steps to follow in order to reinstate your Texas driver’s license. This process includes the payment of fees, filling out paperwork, and getting a new license. 

Texas takes drunk driving quite seriously. Oftentimes, convictions result in administrative and criminal suspensions. Unfortunately, you have to wait until both suspension periods are over before you can get a new license. 

If you have questions about reinstating your driver’s license after a DWI, contact our Houston DWI lawyers for a free consultation today. 

Reinstating a Driver’s License After a DWI: The Requirements 

Before you’re able to get a new license, there are several tasks you must complete. 

  • If you’re required to attend an alcohol education program, obtain your certificate of completion. 
  • Pay your reinstatement fee as well as any administrative fees. 
  • Get your SR-22 from your car insurance company. This is also called a Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate. 

In Texas, you can simply pay your fees online in addition to submitting your paperwork via email. Alternatively, you have the option to submit a check along with your paperwork through the mail. However, it’s important to keep in mind that either way, this process can take up to three weeks. This means you may have to wait 21 days or so before you can pursue a new Texas driver’s license. 

Once all these steps are complete, you are eligible once more for a driver’s license. At this point, you can fill out the necessary paperwork and take it to your local DPS office to reinstate your driver’s license after a DWI.

Get an Occupational License After a DWI 

For many people, not being able to drive is the most daunting consequence of a Texas DWI. Houston is a driving city, and many people need cars to commute to work and school or to get groceries and feed their families. Luckily, there is one way to help some people get access to a temporary license during suspension. 

Some people who receive DWI suspensions are eligible for an occupational license. Also known as an essential needs license, this temporary license is a restricted permit that allows you to drive a non-commercial vehicle for certain activities. 

With an occupational license, you can continue to work, attend school, and care for your family during your DWI suspension period. This applies to both administrative and criminal suspensions. 

If you’re interested in pursuing an occupational license, contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our Houston DWI lawyers. At your consultation, we can provide more information on what happens if you drive during a suspension as well as information on Texas laws pertaining to temporary licenses. 

Avoid a DWI Suspension with a Houston DWI Lawyer 

If you face DWI charges in Texas, the DWI defense team at The Martinez Law Firm is available to help you fight the allegations against you. There is a tight deadline to appeal administrative license suspensions and build a solid defense strategy. However, we have the knowledge and expertise required to help you pursue the best possible outcome of your case. 

You only have 15 days following your arrest to appeal an administrative DWI suspension. That’s why it is essential to act quickly. Call on our team as soon as possible and let us fight for you. As your advocates, we fight to protect your rights and help you avoid driver’s license suspension. 

We work to: 

  • Appeal administrative suspensions 
  • Fight criminal charges and reduce or dismiss them
  • Negotiate a deal to help you avoid criminal suspension 
  • Help you through the process for an occupational license

Our Houston DWI lawyers know how police and prosecutors handle DWI cases. More importantly, we know how to build a strong defense for your case. At your free consultation, we can review your case and get started on your defense today. 

Want to Reinstate Your Driver’s License After a DWI? Schedule a Consultation Now

Whether you face DWI charges or need to reinstate your driver’s license after a DWI, the criminal defense attorneys at The Martinez Law Firm are here to help. We understand how important driving is in a place like Houston, and we strive to help you keep or regain your license. Let us be your advocates in administrative and criminal trials.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our Houston DWI lawyers. 

Enhanced DWI: Factors That Change Severity

aggrivated dwi - martinez law firm - criminal defense attorney - houston

In Texas, an enhanced DWI charge takes harsh consequences and makes them harder on you. When charged with a DWI in Texas, you already face the potential of steep fines, community service, increased insurance requirements, and even jail time. When other factors impact your case, the court has the option to increase those penalties quite drastically. 

Whenever present, aggravating factors give the court reason to enhance your sentence if they convict you. There are a few common aggravating factors that impact Texas DWI cases, and we’ll cover them here. 

If you face DWI charges, you need a Houston DWI lawyer who understands the court systems. As your advocates in and out of court, we work to reduce or dismiss your charges, always fighting for your best interests. Contact us today for a free consultation!

Enhanced DWI: Common Factors That Enhance Charges 

Prior DWI Convictions 

With a prior DWI conviction on your record, the minimum jail sentence associated with your charge increases. Texas law takes driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases very seriously. The public policy behind this increase assumes that with a prior charge on your record, you didn’t learn from your last conviction. 

However, when you have the right Houston DWI lawyer on your side, you have an advocate to keep your charges down from enhanced DWI. When possible, we work to keep prior convictions out of consideration. 

Open Container of Alcohol in the Vehicle 

If an open container of alcohol was found in the vehicle you were operating while intoxicated, you face a potential mandatory six-day jail sentence. Separate from a DWI, driving with an open container of alcohol is its own crime. Unless you are underage, this typically results in a fine. 

Underage Drinking

Per Texas law, there are two types of charges associated with intoxication: driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs and driving while intoxicated (DWI). DWI applies to drivers aged 21 or older who are driving drunk. 

DUI charges apply to underage drivers who drive under the influence. This is because an underage driver does not need to be legally intoxicated in order to face charges. Moreover, they may face additional charges pertaining to underage drinking. 

Elevated BAC 

In Texas, a high BAC can elevate your charge to an aggravated DWI. When your blood alcohol content (BAC) level was .15 or higher, the court might charge you with a Class A Misdemeanor. As your advocate, a Houston DWI lawyer will fight to protect your rights in the courtroom. 

Our DWI defense team will analyze every aspect of your case to ensure the arresting officer followed proper procedure. When we find any flaws or discrepancies in the process, we use these to your advantage.

Minor in the Vehicle 

When you have a minor under the age of 15 in the vehicle while drunk driving, you face a felony DWI. As you can imagine, the consequences for these aggravated DWI charges are quite dire. When you face a felony DWI, it is essential that you hire an experienced Houston DWI lawyer with a proven track record for success. 

Causing Accidents and Injuries 

When drunk driving results in an accident that leads to a severe injury, the penalties you potentially face grow much harsher. 

Enhanced DWI? Call on the Houston DWI Lawyers at Martinez Law Firm

When it comes to enhanced DWI charges in Texas, the State provides courts with many opportunities to enhance the penalties of your case. Your sentence may hinge on a broad spectrum of circumstances and facts within your case. That’s why it is crucial that you have an experienced Houston DWI lawyer on your side to protect your rights and your future.  

Have you been arrested for a DWI in Houston? Our criminal defense attorneys are here to help you. When you schedule a free consultation, we advise you on the best course of action. Our defense team guides you throughout the process so that you fully understand the details of your case.

Schedule your free consultation today to see how Martinez Law Firm can protect you!

How Does a DWI Affect Car Insurance in Texas?

How Does a DWI Affect Car Insurance in Texas? - criminal defense attorney herman martinez of houston

How Does a DWI Affect Car Insurance in Texas?


As Houston DWI lawyers, our clients often wonder how a DWI affects car insurance rates. It’s important to understand that a DWI conviction guarantees your car insurance premiums will never be as low as they were before your conviction. This is because insurance centers around risk management.
If you are found guilty of driving while intoxicated (DWI), insurance companies label you as “high risk.” Additionally, they can restrict certain coverage as well. A DWI conviction comes with numerous long-term consequences. Worse than increased rates, though, is the potential that an insurance company may cancel your policy once a DWI is on your record.
After conviction, a DWI appears on both your driving record and your criminal record. This tells insurers that you put their policyholders at risk of having to settle a substantial personal injury claim or even a wrongful death suit. Should they decide to cancel the policy of a drunk driver, they view it as a way to protect themselves and their other customers.
That’s why you need an experienced Houston DWI defense attorney to fight for your best interests. When you schedule a free consultation with our legal team, we review your case and help guide you through the process. However, it’s essential that you act fast.

What’s an SR-22?


Today, most states require insurance companies to provide the Division of Motor Vehicles that someone secures vehicle insurance after a conviction. Typically, the procedure is for the company to forward an SR-22 Proof of Insurance Certificate before the DMV revokes a suspension of your driving privileges.
From then on, if the policy lapses or is canceled by any means, the state is notified, and you will be legally unable to drive until you once again secure an insurance policy. However, it is important to understand the SR-22 itself is not an insurance product. This certificate simply indicates financial responsibility, and the actual requirements differ from state to state.

Lower Your Premiums with Proactive Work


A convicted drunk driver can take certain actions in order to lessen the financial burden of their insurance premiums. After a DWI conviction, it’s vital to maintain a clean driving record. This includes any minor infractions, such as speeding. However, it is crucial that you do not drink and drive again because it only exacerbates your legal and insurance issues.
One thing you can do is enroll in a safe-driving course and forward the information to your insurance company after you complete the class. Another way to combat these costs is to work towards improving your credit score by paying bills on time and working to lower your debt. These actions can have a positive impact on your premiums.

Work with a DWI Lawyer to Save Your Car Insurance


A DWI conviction is not the end of the world, but it drastically alters your life. Outside of higher auto insurance premiums, you face fines and potential jail time. With a DWI on your record, it can also make finding work or a place to live far more difficult. Positive steps help, but the most positive thing you can do after a DWI arrest is to call on a Houston DWI lawyer.
With the right DWI defense team on your side, you have advocates to pursue your best interests. At The Martinez Law Firm, we have decades of experience helping individuals reduce or even dismiss DWI charges. Results vary from case to case, but our team understands the process inside and out. Call now to schedule a free consultation. Let us show you how to fight for your future.

Do I Need to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

Will my DWI Case Cause Me to Get an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device (IID) may be an unfortunate consequence of a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge. DWIs are unique charges because sentencing incorporates many different conditions. Installing an IID is just one possibility. For those who are repeat DWI offenders, it is most likely that a judge will order the installation of the device.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An ignition interlock device is quite similar to a breathalyzer. However, the key difference it is in your car. When installed, this device requires that you submit a breath sample before you can start the car. The purpose of the device is to deter DWI offenders from drinking alcohol. Whenever the device any alcohol, it locks down the engine.

These devices are a hassle for daily life, not to mention both embarrassing and expensive. When sentenced to install the device, you are expected to pay for the installation as well as the monthly rental costs. That’s why it is so vital for you to have an experienced Houston DWI lawyer on your side. With the right representation, you lawyer is an advocate who can fight to reduce your charges and help you avoid costly punishments like the IID.

Texas Law and IIDs

As we’ve mentioned before, Texas takes drunk driving very seriously. The DWI laws concerning the ignition interlock device are located under the Transportation Code and Penal Code. Oftentimes, first-time offenders do not face an IID penalty. Some judges consider a first-time DWI as an uncharacteristic lapse in judgment and allow some leeway. However, it is vital that you have a Houston DWI lawyer on your side to fight for the best potential outcome.

For repeat offenders, Texas Penal Code § 49.04(h) states that a second or subsequent DWI within 5 years of your first offense requires the installation of an IID. Moreover, it requires the installation of an IID on every operable vehicle that you own. This means you face mounting costs that you have to bear for months to come.

Aggravated DWI cases may lead to the installation of an ignition interlock device as well. Circumstances such as child passengers or a BAC of .15 turn a DWI into an aggravated DWI. When you are charged with an aggravated DWI, judges are more likely to impose IID requirements.

Vehicles You Might Be Able to Drive Without an IID

  • The vehicle is used for work.
  • An employer owns the vehicle.
  • You have no control or authority over your employers.
  • Your employer is aware of your driving restriction.
  • There is proof of notification kept in the work vehicle.

Your Houston DWI Lawyer and Ignition Interlock Devices

When you or someone you know is charged with drunk driving, it is vital that you seek out experienced legal counsel. In Texas, a DWI is serious charge with severe consequences that range from fines to incarceration. Moreover, you could wind up with an ignition interlock device that restricts your ability to move freely through Harris County.

Call on the expert team at The Martinez Law Firm to speak with an experienced Houston DWI lawyer. At our criminal defense firm, we understand the ins and outs of Texas DWI cases. Our criminal defense attorneys know how to evaluate cases and map out defense plans that work. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your options.

At The Martinez Law Firm, we represent clients throughout Houston and Harris County to ensure they have the advocacy that DWI charges require. Reach out today and let us show you how can protect your future.

Key Questions to Ask a DWI Lawyer

If You Don’t Ask These Key Questions You May Not Make Your Case

After a DWI arrest, it’s essential you know what questions to ask a DWI lawyer before you make your choice. In Texas, driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a very serious matter. That means you need serious representation from a Houston DWI lawyer who understands the court systems and the DWI process. 

Above all, it’s important that you talk to a DWI defense attorney about your case as soon as possible. Following an arrest, you have 15 days to save your license, and our DWI defense legal team can help! 

Moreover, you should never enter a guilty plea for a DWI charge before our team analyzes your case. At your free consultation, we can discuss your case and begin to determine a strategy that gives you a clear advantage and the best possible outcome. 

Do I Need a Houston DWI Lawyer?

There are some who question whether they need a Houston DWI lawyer to represent them. At times, they also believe that admitting guilt will make everything go away faster. This simply is not true. Today, a DWI conviction carries potentially overwhelming consequences that can alter your life forever.

When you face a DWI charge, it is far too serious to take on by yourself. Not hiring an attorney is one of the most common mistakes that people make. However, when you do not seek professional, experienced legal representation, it can be a very costly mistake. 

When a driver is arrested for drunk driving, they need a Houston DWI lawyer to examine the details of their arrest. Together, we explore the potential strategies and provide guidance on how to fight for the best possible outcome in your DWI case. Everyone’s situation is unique because it depends on their specific circumstances. Because no two arrests are the same, the outcome often depends upon the details of your arrest. 

The Key Questions to Ask a DWI Lawyer 

So, what are the questions to ask a DWI attorney? When you decide to schedule a free consultation with a Houston DWI lawyer, it’s a good idea to write out a list of the questions you want to ask. Going over your case is a stressful experience for some, but it’s important to ensure you ask everything you need to. When you hire a Houston criminal defense attorney, you should feel confident in your selection. 

  • How long have you been practicing DWI law in Texas?
  • Do you specialize in Texas DWI law, or is your firm a general practice? 
  • How many DWI cases have you defended over the past year? 
  • What percentage of your DWI cases go to trial, and how successful are you?
  • Have you been able to reduce charges or have them dropped in the past? 
  • What do your clients say about you in their testimonials? 
  • How do you determine the strategy for your cases? 
  • Do you have an understanding of alcohol toxicology, blood alcohol content, and field sobriety tests? 
  • How much will you charge for my case, and how do you determine your attorney fees? 
  • Do you offer payment plans since people often face these charges unexpectedly? 
  • Can I book appointments in the evenings or on weekends to fit my schedule? 

Understanding the details of your case is essential for a Houston DWI lawyer. However, the free case evaluation is about you as well. It’s a time for you to ask whatever questions you need to in order to understand your situation. When you leave your free consultation, you should feel confident in who you hire. 

Our Houston DWI defense team has the skills and knowledge necessary to defend your rights. Call us today, and let us show you that we are the advocates you deserve. 

Your Houston DWI Lawyer: Schedule a Consultation Today

If you currently face DWI charges in Harris County or the surrounding area, it is essential that you have a DWI defense attorney review your arrest information immediately. Schedule a free consultation today, and share your story with us. We want to hear your side of the story as we review the details of your arrest. 

As Houston DWI lawyers, we strive to provide you with strong defense options and sound guidance for what to do next. We understand the pressure you are under and want to help you move on as quickly as possible. 

When you have questions to ask a DWI lawyer, schedule your consultation today. At your initial consultation, we discuss potential defenses and options. You need to understand what an experienced DWI lawyer can do for you. Let us show you. 

DWI Expungement in Houston: When and How It Works

A DWI expungement in Houston can help you work towards a better future. In Texas, your criminal record is a public record. If you have ever been charged, convicted, or arrested for a DWI, anyone who runs a background check will find that information. Oftentimes, this results in difficulty finding work, a place to live, or even a financial loan. For years, a DWI arrest in Texas can haunt you. Let Martinez Law get the court to expunge a DWI case for you.

Fortunately, when you have the right Houston DWI lawyer on your side, there are ways to avoid having your DWI discovered by the public. For those who qualify, an arrest, prosecution, or first-time conviction can potentially be sealed. When you seal your record, it helps you get back to a sense of normalcy. Reach out to the Martinez Law Firm today to see whether you qualify and how we can help. Our DWI defense law firm offers free consultations, so please, do not hesitate to call.

Who Qualifies for DWI Expungement in Houston?

Have you been arrested and tried for a DWI without a formal conviction? The good news is that you may qualify to expunge a DWI case in Harris County, TX. If you meet one of the following requirements, you qualify for expunction.

Minor at the Time of Your DWI Arrest

If you were arrested for a DWI as a minor (under 17 in this instance) and not convicted of other violations, you should be eligible to expunge a DWI case in Houston. Texas understands that minors make mistakes and often approve rehabilitation over punishment for youths. A criminal record for a mistake you made as a kid does not serve this purpose.

Charges Never Filed

The fact of your arrest for a DWI is a matter of public record. Any employer or landlord who runs a background check can see the details of any run-ins you’ve had with the law. This includes the details of any arrests. However, if you were never formally charged with a crime, you can request to have the record expunged.

With this expungement, your DWI arrest seems like it no longer exists. Moreover, the court may grant you the legal privilege to deny the fact you were ever arrest for an expunged crime.

DWI Case Dismissed by a Court

When your DWI case is dismissed, the arrest and charge remain on your record. Oftentimes, people assume this means that the DWI arrest simply falls off of their record. This is simply not the case unless you file a petition for DWI expungement in Houston.

If your misdemeanor DWI case was dismissed, you are likely eligible to expunge a DWI case so long as that same arrest didn’t lead to a conviction for another crime.

Found Not Guilty of a DWI

If you took your DWI case to trial and won, congratulations. Even when a judge and jury decide you are not guilty, your arrest remains on your record. However, your success in court means you have the right to request an expunction.

Appealed a DWI Conviction & Won

With the help of a Houston DWI lawyer, you can appeal any DWI conviction in Texas. When you appeal and win, you also have the ability to request a DWI expungement in Houston. Clearing your record helps you keep the details of your DWI arrest, trial, conviction, and appeal under wraps. Moreover, an expungement can allow you to honestly state that you were never convicted of a crime.

Need to Expunge A DWI Case in Houston? Call Our DWI Defense Team

Have you been arrested or prosecuted for a DWI in Houston? Were you never convicted? Perhaps you were able to overturn your conviction through an appeal. If you find yourself in need of a DWI expungement in Houston or Harris County, DWI lawyer Herman Martinez has the power to help you file a petition for expungement or to have your record sealed. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more ab