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DUI / DWI

civil penalties

In addition to any criminal charges for DUI/DWI, a state may assess civil (non-criminal) penalties against a person convicted of DUI/DWI. Civil penalties may include (1) thousands of dollars of fines; (2) suspension of the driver’s license; (3) requirements for additional insurance; (4) completion of alcohol rehabilitation/treatment and DUI/DWI intervention courses; and (5) installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the driver’s motor vehicle.

The laws regarding civil penalties for DUI/DWI convictions are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal code or criminal code.

In Texas, civil penalties for DUI/DWI (Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated) are indeed separate from criminal charges and can be quite severe. Upon conviction, the state can impose hefty fines, which can reach into the thousands of dollars depending on the offense number and severity. The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is also authorized to suspend the driver's license of individuals convicted of DUI/DWI. This suspension can vary in length from 90 days to two years for a first offense. Texas law may require drivers with a DUI/DWI conviction to obtain a special type of car insurance called SR-22, which is a certificate of financial responsibility. Additionally, convicted individuals may be required to complete alcohol education programs, which could include a 12-hour DWI education program for first offenders or a more extensive intervention program for repeat offenders. Finally, Texas courts can order the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) on the vehicle of a person convicted of DUI/DWI, especially for repeat offenders or those with a high blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest. These civil penalties are designed to deter drunk driving and to promote public safety on the roads.


Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

23 U.S.C. § 164 - Minimum penalties for repeat offenders for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence
This federal statute incentivizes states to adopt specific measures for repeat DUI/DWI offenders, which can include civil penalties.

Under 23 U.S.C. § 164, states are encouraged to enact and enforce laws that require, at a minimum, that any person convicted of a second or subsequent DUI/DWI offense must: (1) serve a mandatory period of suspension or revocation of their driver's license; and (2) use an ignition interlock device (IID) for a specified period on all vehicles they operate. If a state fails to comply with these requirements, a portion of its federal-aid highway funds may be withheld. This statute is relevant because it directly affects state laws regarding civil penalties for DUI/DWI by mandating certain actions that states must take for repeat offenders, which can include the installation of an IID.

23 U.S.C. § 410 - Alcohol-impaired driving countermeasures
This statute provides grant incentives for states to implement and enforce DUI/DWI laws, which may include civil penalties.

23 U.S.C. § 410 outlines the provisions for federal grants to states that implement and enforce programs designed to reduce driving under the influence of alcohol. These grants can be used by states to improve their DUI/DWI enforcement, including the establishment of civil penalties. The statute encourages states to adopt and implement effective programs that may include: (1) alcohol rehabilitation and treatment programs; (2) public information and education initiatives; (3) enforcement mobilizations, particularly for high-risk populations such as underage drinkers; and (4) other related safety measures. The availability of federal funds under this statute can influence state decisions regarding the imposition of civil penalties for DUI/DWI offenses.

23 U.S.C. § 303 - National Highway System
This statute includes provisions related to the National Highway System, which can indirectly affect state DUI/DWI laws and associated civil penalties.

While 23 U.S.C. § 303 primarily deals with the designation of the National Highway System, it also includes provisions that can impact state DUI/DWI laws. The statute emphasizes the importance of safety on federal-aid highways, and by extension, it supports the enforcement of traffic laws, including those related to DUI/DWI. The federal government's focus on highway safety can lead to the development of regulations and policies that encourage states to adopt stricter DUI/DWI laws, potentially including civil penalties such as fines and license suspensions, to ensure safer roadways.