In Texas, if you are convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), you will be looking at some serious criminal penalties. High fines, incarceration, and having your driver license suspended are just a few of the penalties you will be facing. You will also suffer collateral consequences such as losing your job and challenges to obtaining a professional license, among other things. If you are dealing with a DWI charge, being aware of potential collateral consequences and how they can impact your future can assist you with making the best choices for your circumstances.
Losing your job is just one of the consequences of a DWI conviction. If you miss too many days from your job due to being incarcerated, you are likely to face termination. And suppose your position involves working for the government, as a teacher, or in any position of integrity. In that case, you are likely to find your employer less tolerant of your continued employment if you have a DWI conviction.
Losing your job has serious consequences. You need an income to pay bills, support your family and yourself, and just to enjoy life. Having a DWI conviction can severely limit your job opportunities, such as jobs requiring clearance or special training. You can find yourself losing out on seniority in a career as well having reduced options.
You may not realize this, but many professions require a professional license. If you have a DWI conviction, you might lose your license or be disqualified for applying for one. Some of the professions requiring a license are:
Special licenses are also required in many other occupations if you want to continue working in that specific field. If you currently hold a special license, it can be revoked or suspended if you have a DWI conviction. And you would be waiting for it to be reviewed to be reinstated. If you plan to apply for a professional license and have a DWI conviction, you will face challenges with no guarantee of success in obtaining one.
Security clearances are required for many positions in government. Since you will need to undergo an in-depth background check for the clearance, any misdemeanor or felony conviction will appear. Your DWI conviction could even end up disqualifying you or, at the least, make getting a security clearance more difficult.
It is good to be aware that whether or not you would obtain a security clearance depends on the type of position you are applying for and the requirements for security clearance. Your DWI conviction causes challenges you would otherwise not have. It is important to communicate to a prospective employer why you have the DWI conviction and show that you are not a repeat offender or that it’s been several years since you received the conviction.
When it comes to child custody issues, the Court will look at what is best for the welfare of the child. As part of the process, any past criminal history of either parent, including any DWI convictions, will be examined and considered. Having a DWI conviction does not mean that custody is not an option though it will weigh on the Court’s decision whether or not to grant it.
If your DWI conviction results from an addiction to alcohol or intoxicating drugs, this will have a significant impact on the Court’s decision to grant custody. At the least, your DWI gives the Court pause so it can determine if there are addiction issues when it comes to giving you custody of your child.
Before you seek custody of your child, it is essential to show that you do not have any drug or alcohol addiction issues. If you previously had an addiction, you need to have sought out and gotten help for your addiction and completed any required treatment. Suppose you are receiving ongoing treatment and have taken responsibility for your addiction issues. In that case, this will go a long way in easing any unease about your past addiction the Court may have.
Having a criminal conviction such as a DWI will pose a challenge for getting a loan. The DWI conviction will be a red flag to any potential lender, whether a bank, financial institution or even a payday lender. Lenders are concerned about being repaid for providing the loan, and if you have a criminal history, they may question your trustworthiness in repaying the loan. You will be seen as a risk to the lender and will have a more difficult time securing a loan from them.
Since a DWI conviction involves a car, it is understandable that obtaining a car loan will likely be a challenge. In most cases, the car serves as collateral for the loan, and lenders view a person with a DWI conviction as a higher risk to the car. It will not matter if that person has learned their lesson and will never make the mistake of drinking and driving again. Having a DWI conviction will definitely cause challenges in obtaining a car loan.
Obtaining a mortgage will also be another challenge if you have a DWI conviction or a criminal history of any kind. Another thing to consider is that if you somehow can obtain a mortgage, you may be paying a much higher interest rate than someone who does not have a criminal history. The additional money paid in interest can hurt your budget and cause its own set of problems.
If you cannot obtain a mortgage due to your DWI conviction, you will likely seek to rent your home. You can also expect to face challenges here, as many landlords are not comfortable renting to someone with a criminal history, which they will learn from the required background check. As you may now realize, having a DWI conviction can significantly limit your housing options. Even those on subsidized housing due to public assistance will find that the housing option is no longer available to them.
Unlike having a misdemeanor DWI conviction, if you have a felony DWI conviction, you will lose your voting rights. A felon only becomes eligible to vote again after completing their prison sentence, parole, and probation. They can also become eligible to vote if they’ve received a pardon. Once they become eligible to vote again, they must re-register.
It is easy to take constitutional rights for granted until you are experiencing the consequences of a felony DWI conviction. Not being able to vote in deciding what happens in a state or federal election can be distressing. Though you can be eligible to vote once again, as mentioned in the previous paragraph, it could take many years due to having committed a felony.
For many people, their second amendment right to own and bear arms is of the utmost importance. However, if you have a felony DWI conviction, you will lose that right, and it could now be illegal for you to own any weapons.
As someone who prosecuted cases like your DWI for over 15 years, Jason S. English understands the strategies prosecutors employ in DWI cases to coerce the accused into pleading guilty. Before you plead guilty to any crime, understand your rights and explore your options for fighting the criminal charges.