You see a police officer’s lights come on behind you while driving home from a night out. You know that you’ve had a few drinks and you’re wondering if you’re over the legal limit. You start to worry about the potential ramifications of your situation.
If you’re convicted of a first offense for driving while impaired, you could have to pay a $2,000 fine in Texas. You could also face up to 180 days behind bars if you are convicted, and three days are mandatory. Next, you will likely lose your driver’s license for up to 12 months.
Things will be more significant for subsequent offenses, such as a $4,000 fine for a second offense or a $10,000 fine for a third offense. Texas has some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the country in this regard. But those laws don’t even define all the ways that a DWI could impact your life.
Loss of employment
For example, many people who get a DWI end up losing their job. Your driver’s license may be required simply to get to work. If you have to spend three days behind bars and then you can’t drive for a year, your employer is likely going to replace you. Some employers will also replace workers who have DWI convictions just because of the negative publicity that the situation can bring to the business.
The impact on a divorce
If you find yourself in family law court, perhaps getting a divorce, a DWI conviction could also have an impact. For instance, the court may decide that your conviction shows you are not a safe and responsible parent. Could your custody rights be impacted? It’s certainly something to think about, especially if you were driving with a child in the car at the time of your arrest.
Access to financial options
Finally, a DWI can even limit your ability to get a loan. When you apply for financing for something like a mortgage or a car loan, you could be denied. Similarly, those with a criminal record may find it difficult to apply to college and further their education or even to rent an apartment.
A DWI conviction can have a ripple effect on your entire life. As a result, you’ll want to think twice before pleading guilty. Seeking legal guidance to present a strong defense may be in your best interests in more ways than one.