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What Are the Consequences of a DWI in Texas

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Drunk driving accidents are responsible for 10,000 deaths per year. Because of this, the law takes drunk driving incredibly seriously. While it may seem harmless if no one is hurt, the risk of taking the wheel and potential harm is still extremely high. Bottom line is don’t ever drink and drive. However, mistakes happen and when they do, it’s important to be informed of what to do next.

Getting a DWI comes with heavy consequences. They include jail time, heavy fines, and long-term consequences that few people realize until they have a DWI on their record.

We’re here to go over some of the consequences you can expect if you are charged with a DWI in Texas and how you can minimize the impact. Read on to learn more.

First, let’s break down the legal consequences of getting a DWI in Texas. For simplicity’s sake, we’ve broken them down into different types of offenses. Obviously the penalties and consequences are compounded with repeat offenses.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the legal consequences you can expect if you’re being charged with a DWI.

First-Time DWI

It’s a mistake to think a first-time DWI is no big deal. Quite the contrary. A DWI first offense can wreak havoc in your life.

Jail time is likely even for a first DWI. Generally speaking, a first-time DWI results in a minimum of 3 days in jail. The maximum jail time for this offense, in most cases (assuming there was no property damage or injury as a result of the DWI), is 180 days. Some people also get probation.

You can have your driver’s license suspended for up to one year. The minimum suspension is 90 days.

You will have to pay a fine of up to $2,000 to the state of Texas. In some cases, you may have to continue paying yearly for your license.

You may have to take a driver’s education course or an alcohol abuse course to avoid having your license taken from you.

Outside of the legal consequences, many employers have strict rules around DWI’s and employees. Thousands of companies require employees to report a DWI immediately. Even part-time or gig employers like Uber, Lyft, or Amazon require drivers to report any DWI within a short time of the offense.

Termination from a job because of a DWI conviction is very common. If a driver is found guilty, companies (even part-time jobs) don’t want the liability of a bad driver in their midst.

Don’t let a DWI sneak up and destroy your career. Getting a DWI charge reduced or dismissed is the best way to protect your record and your job.

Second DWI

The consequences of your second DWI will be more severe than the first one. Because it’s a Class A misdemeanor, your fine will double. The fine for your second DWI will be $4,000.

People who commit this crime can spend up to one year in jail. They will lose their licenses for 18 months and will have to pay to get it back after that period of time has passed.

Once again, the consequences outside of the legal arena can be severe. A second DWI conviction can prevent you from getting a job with Uber, Lyft, or many of the most coveted companies in the US. It can devastate your ability to get even part-time employment if driving is involved- or even a driving commute!

It’s worth it to get an experienced DWI lawyer on your side to fight a second DWI conviction. A good DWI lawyer won’t be cheap, but in the long run, it could protect your future potential earnings. Think about that if you’re in this tough situation.

Third DWI

There’s no denying that a third DWI is a major problem. A third DWI is a felony in Texas and the legal ramifications are devastating.

Someone who has three DWIs will go to jail for a minimum of two years and a maximum of ten years. They can be fined up to $10,000 on top of that.

It is possible to get probation instead of staying in jail for the entire duration of two to ten years. A good defense attorney can help you with that.

Anyone facing a potential third DWI in Texas absolutely needs to hire an experienced DWI lawyer to represent them. Going up against Texas courts by yourself or with a court-appointed attorney is a huge gamble that usually ends badly for the defendant.

Hiring a DWI lawyer to fight a third DWI charge won’t be cheap. The skills needed to minimize charges at this level are unique and it takes an experienced, and usually expensive, DWI lawyer to navigate these situations. Don’t risk your entire future if you’re facing a DWI third offense without competent legal help.

DWI With a Child Passenger

Here’s where the risk of DWI involves other people beyond the driver. If there is a child aged fifteen or under in your car at the time of your DWI, even if it is the first DWI, the consequences will be more severe.

This is a felony, not a misdemeanor. People who commit this crime will lose their license for 180 days, pay a fine of up to $10,000, and spend up to two years in jail.

A DWI with a child passenger can spell disaster for anyone in the midst of a divorce or child custody battle. Even years down the road, a spouse can use this against you in a divorce proceeding.

Once again, the best bet is to get a good DWI lawyer or criminal defense attorney to help minimize or dismiss these charges.

Other Consequences and Penalties

Not all consequences and penalties are of the legal variety. There are other penalties that many people don’t think of when they first get charged with a DWI. Here are just a few other consequences you should consider.

The Impact of Having a Conviction on Your Record

A conviction doesn’t look good on your record. Many people will use it against you.

If you’re trying to rent a home, your landlord will see that you have a DWI on your record. While landlords should not discriminate against people with criminal histories, it is not unlikely for your application to be denied as a result, even years down the line.

The same is true of employers, especially if your DWI happened when there was a child in the car or if you’ve had three DWIs. Felonies often restrict people from getting jobs, even if that’s unfair.

In other words, having that DWI on your records will follow you in unexpected ways. Even getting a loan from a bank may become more complicated.

The Cost of Equipment

In some cases, you will have to pay for court-imposed equipment and tools after your DWI. You may need a car interlock device, drug tests, and any classes you’ve been assigned.

The state will not pay for those things. They all come out of your pocket. Many people are surprised to learn this when they get a DWI.

Missing Work or Getting Fired

On top of the expense of paying your fines and paying for tools, classes, tests, and devices, you may find yourself missing work. This will make it more difficult for you to pay for everything.

You’ll miss work for your court dates, any jail time you have to serve, and your classes.

You’ll also be missing out on other responsibilities. If you have children, you may need childcare. You’ll miss out on important events and milestones.

Many employers and companies have strict policies around DWI’s and reserve the right to terminate employees if they get into trouble. Many of the most coveted jobs or part-time driving gigs like Uber or Lyft, can require a spotless driving record. Having a DWI on your record can undermine your ability to work or keep a good job.

Social Consequences

Finally, let’s talk about social consequences. Getting a DWI doesn’t look good to your peers. While it’s not helpful to judge someone for their mistakes after they’ve paid their dues, it’s also human nature.

Thanks to the internet, anyone can look up your record. The stigma around a DWI can cause tension with neighbors, work associates, family or friend groups. It may seem unfair, but it’s the reality we all live with and having a clean record is the best insurance against any negative social consequences.

Don’t Let a DWI in Texas Ruin Your Life

Getting a DWI in Texas is a big deal. The consequences are dire, and they get more serious after each DWI.

Beyond the legal costs and potential jail time, a DWI can have a severe impact on your work, family, and social life. It’s nothing to take lightly.

If you’ve been charged with a DWI, it’s time to hire the best Texas DWI lawyer. DWI lawyer Andrea M. Kolski has over 22 years experience fighting DWI charges in the toughest Texas courts. Her record of dismissals and drastically reduced DWI charges is unmatched. No one can deliver results and protect your future like DWI attorney Andrea M. Kolski. Contact us to get started on your DWI defense today.

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