Many drivers visit Texas for tourism, business conferences, or pass through on a long cross-country drive. When drivers from other states are on the road in Texas, those drivers are subject to Texas traffic and criminal laws. An arrest for drunk driving in Texas can result in criminal charges and the penalties can follow the driver after returning to their home state.
A valid driver’s license issued in another state gives you the right to drive on Texas roads. However, out-of-state drivers still have to follow Texas traffic laws. Most states have similar drunk driving laws, whether called driving while intoxicated (DWI), or a DUI or OUI. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% will generally be charged with a per se DWI.
Unfortunately, unfamiliarity with Texas roads or traffic laws may make out-of-state drivers more likely to be pulled over or arrested. For example, a tourist who goes to a Texas football game returns to their hotel after having a couple of beers. The driver may be following directions on their phone and accidentally roll through a red light. This could alert the police to a traffic violation, and after smelling alcohol on the driver, the driver may end up under arrest.
Just because you got a DWI in Texas does not mean that it will not affect your home state driving privileges. There are a couple of ways an out-of-state DUI or DWI can impact your driver’s license. A DWI arrest involves an administrative license revocation as well and license penalties after a conviction.
Most states, including Texas, are part of the Driver’s License Compact (DLC). Traffic violations, including DWIs, are reported to other member states. Additionally, the National Driver Register (NDR) is a database of information about drivers who have been convicted of serious driving violations and drivers who have had their licenses suspended or revoked.
In order to get your license reinstated after a Texas DWI, you may need to satisfy the requirements of the Texas DWI penalties, including paying fine and completing alcohol education courses, in addition to satisfying your home state requirements.