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8 Ways A DWI In Texas Can Impact Your Life

By: Mark Diaz December 12, 2023 no comments

8 Ways A DWI In Texas Can Impact Your Life

Getting a DWI conviction in Texas carries severe criminal penalties. You can receive jail time, heavy fines, and lose your driver’s license. There are also other ways a DWI can impact your life that are outlined below.

If you have been charged recently with drunk driving, you need experienced Galveston County DWI lawyers defending you today. Mark Diaz & Associates has a track record of successfully defending Texans against serious criminal charges, including drunk driving.

Texas Drunk Driving Penalties Are Severe

The first thing to know about how a DWI can affect your life is that Texas has serious criminal penalties if you are convicted. A first-time offender is usually charged with a Class B misdemeanor. You can receive 180 days in jail, up to a $2,000 fine, and have your license suspended for a year. A second offense can get you a year in jail, a fine of up to $4,000, and loss of your license for two years.

If this is your third DWI offense, the penalties are more severe: a $10,000 fine, from 2 to 10 years in prison, and a two-year license suspension. You would also have to pay a yearly driver’s license reinstatement fee.

There also are situations where the prosecutor may seek enhanced DWI charges against you. Suppose you had a child passenger in the back seat when you were arrested for DWI. In that case, you could be charged with a state jail felony, which could put you in prison for 6 months up to two years, plus a maximum $10,000 fine.

State prosecutors also can pursue an enhanced charge if evidence shows your blood alcohol content (BAC) was .15% or higher. In this situation, you could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.

Other Impacts Of A Texas DWI

As if jail time, license suspension, and fines are not enough, you face other impacts with a DWI conviction. They include:

Employment

If you get a DWI conviction, you could be fired. If you have to go to jail, you could miss too many days and be terminated. Also, many employers do not want people convicted to work for them. This is even more common for people employed in education, government, or other places where one’s morals are under scrutiny.

If you lose your job, it means losing your income and way of supporting yourself. A DWI conviction on your record will also make it challenging to obtain new employment. You could find that after years of building your career, it all comes crashing down with a DWI conviction. In some cases, professional employees with years of experience cannot even get a minimum-wage job. Retaining an experienced DWI attorney as soon as you have been charged is essential.

Professional Licenses

Another way a Texas DWI can impact your life is trouble with applying for or keeping a professional license. Many well-paying jobs require one, and yours could be at risk. These positions include doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, commercial truck drivers, real estate agents and brokers, dentists, engineers, pharmacists, and veterinarians.

If you get a DWI, your professional license could be suspended or revoked, and it could be challenging or impossible to reinstate. For example, if you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL), you can lose your license for a year for a first-time offense. It does not matter if you were driving your personal vehicle, either. When the suspension is over, it can be more difficult to obtain employment with other trucking companies.

Child Custody

When a Texas court decides about child custody, it will consider the child’s best interests. The court must consider if the child will be safe with that parent. As part of this process, the court will review each parent’s criminal history, including DWIs. Having a DWI conviction on your record does not always mean you will lose custody, but it can be considered.

Also, a DWI conviction could suggest that a parent has a problem with addiction to drugs or alcohol. The court will carefully consider if you have an addiction and whether it is a danger to the child. Having a DWI at least raises the question of addiction.

To make sure this does not affect the child custody decision, you may need to show that you have received treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. Having evidence of ongoing addiction treatment and being sober for a significant period can reduce the court’s concerns.

Security Clearances

Do you work for the government and have a security clearance? A security clearance requires a detailed background check to reveal any criminal convictions. A DWI conviction can make obtaining or keeping a security clearance more difficult.

However, not every security clearance will be affected by a DWI. It depends on the job type and the requirements for that clearance. But having any conviction on your record will make the process take longer, and you will need to explain the DWI. If you have questions about a security clearance, your DWI attorney at Mark Diaz & Associates can discuss it with you.

Housing

It can be more challenging to obtain housing if you have a criminal history. Many landlords run background checks on their renters and will hesitate to lease to someone with a DWI. You still may be able to find a decent place to live, but it may require more time. You also could be required to put more money down to move in. If you receive public housing assistance, a DWI can complicate that, too.

Loans

Being convicted of any crime can make it more challenging to get a loan, such as from a bank, mortgage company, or car dealership. Those who give out loans are most interested in ensuring they will be paid back. You are automatically considered a higher risk if you have any criminal history.

A car loan can be especially tricky for someone with a DWI conviction. Car loans usually use the vehicle as collateral, and a person with a DWI is a higher risk to the vehicle. If you can get a car loan with a DWI, you might have to pay a higher interest rate.

Also, buying a house with a DWI on your record can be more challenging. The lender will probably check your criminal history, and the underwriting process will be more difficult when they see the DWI.

Firearms

Under US law, people who were convicted of a felony lose their right to own a gun. So, even if you already own guns, it could be illegal for you to possess them if you get a felony DWI conviction.

Voting

Getting a misdemeanor DWI will not affect your right to vote. But a felony conviction will suspend your voting rights. You do not get them back until you have completed your sentence, probation, or parole or receive a pardon. Losing this constitutional right is essential to many interested in how the country and state are governed. You can eventually get your voting rights back, but you must understand how long it will take.

You Can Be Charged With Drunk Driving Under .08% BAC

Many people believe that you can only be arrested for DWI in Texas if your BAC is .08% or higher. Texas law indeed says you are legally intoxicated at .08%. But the police can handcuff you if they think you are too impaired to drive, regardless of what your BAC is. So, you can be arrested and charged with drunk driving even if you only had a drink or two if the police think you are impaired.

The Texas Penal Code states that a person is drunk if they lack their ‘normal use of mental or physical faculties’ because of drug or alcohol use. Remember, DWI charges also apply to drug use, so you can be arrested for being under the influence of your prescription medication, marijuana, or cocaine.

However, just because you drank and drove, it does not mean you automatically broke the law. If you are not impaired, there is nothing wrong with driving home after having a glass of wine with friends. Many people in Texas are wrongly accused of DWI simply because they have the smell of alcohol on their breath. Call our Galveston County DWI lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates to defend you if this happens to you.

Contact Our Galveston County DWI Lawyers

Some people mistakenly believe that a first-time DWI charge is a small matter. But even if you avoid jail, there will be many negative impacts on your life for years if convicted. You face jail time, fines, difficulty with employment, and a permanent criminal record. So, if you have been charged with drunk driving, do not delay acting.

Speak to our Galveston County DWI lawyers at Mark Diaz & Associates today at (409) 515-6170. While DWI is a serious charge, there are many strategies to defend you. For example, police often make mistakes during the arrest that can be used to get the case thrown out. Whatever defense is best in your situation, Attorney Diaz will work tirelessly for you to get the best possible case outcome.

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