When a Texas police officer suspects you of driving while intoxicated (DWI), they will pull you over and arrest you if they can establish probable cause. The penalties could include jail time, big fines and a license suspension.
Facing DWI charges intimidates many people, leading them to plead guilty to avoid criminal court. Unfortunately, while this approach does reduce how much time you spend in court, it will lead to a criminal record that will have a significant impact on your future. Any criminal charge can have lasting consequences and an impact on your finances, but a DWI can hit you particularly hard.
What are the long-term consequences of a DWI conviction?
A problematic driving record and higher insurance costs
Every citation or driving infraction on your record affects your driving privileges. A DWI conviction will frequently result in the temporary loss of your license. A DWI will also increase how much you pay for motor vehicle insurance for years after the conviction.
Criminal convictions can affect professional licensing
If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a DWI offense that occurs in your own vehicle, not on the job, can end your eligibility for a CDL. Obviously, an infraction on the job could cost you your employment and your CDL as well.
If you work in another licensed profession, like nursing, a criminal conviction on your record or complaints about your arrest history to the state licensing board could cost you your professional license even if driving isn’t part of your job.
A criminal record will follow you for years
There are employers and landlords who likely will not want to do business with you if you have any criminal record.
If you want to go back to school to pursue a college degree or a graduate degree, a criminal record could affect your ability to enroll at a school and also what financial aid you can receive. Even if you never leave your current employer, a background check performed when you apply for a promotion could affect your career.
Between the costs, the criminal consequences, and the record that will follow you for years to come, a DWI charge can have a significant negative impact on your life. Defending against DWI charges is often a better choice than pleading guilty just to stay out of court.