What are the Consequences for Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) is one of the most common criminal offenses in the United States, and many otherwise law-abiding citizens have found their lives unraveled by the consequences of drunk driving.
Drunk driving is a serious offense that not only poses a great danger to the individual drinking, but to anyone else who may be out on the road as well. Because of this, the legal consequences can be severe and the ramifications can linger for years.
The penalties for a DWI offender vary based on factors like age (there is a zero tolerance policy if you are under 21), the type of license, or other circumstances like whether other passengers were in the vehicle, such as a child, or if the drunk driving resulted in more horrific outcomes like injury or death. But generally speaking, a first time DWI offender in Texas will be looking at:
- Fines up to $2,000 as well as legal costs from the court or lawyers
- License suspension for up to 2 years
- Community service
- Imprisonment between 3 to 180 days, even for a first time offender
- Alcohol education and intervention programs
- An annual surcharge of $2,000 for 3 years in order to retain a license
- More expensive car insurance
- Possible ignition interlock device.
Repeat offenders will see even harsher penalties, but the above are what you might consider the short-term, immediate consequences of drunk driving for a first-time offender. It is often the long-term consequences of a DWI that cause the greatest pain and hardship. Even long after you have paid all your fines and fulfilled your legal obligations, the DWI conviction may undermine future opportunities and negatively impact your life.
Understanding the short and long-term consequences of drunk driving is an important first step in prevention, as well as in coping with the fallout if you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving.
Losing a driver’s license for up to two years can cause major complications in terms of getting to work. If your job requires driving such as a commercial driver, taxi driver, or even pizza delivery driver, you may lose your job altogether. Even running simple errands, whether it is a to go to the grocery store or a doctor’s appointment, will be challenging. If you are forced to rely on public transportation or others, you may find that you regularly arrive late for work which can place your job in jeopardy.
Additionally, court dates, jail time, community service, and alcohol education programs can all interrupt your work and cause complications. In the event that you are seeking out future employment, your drunk driving record will appear on your criminal record and could hurt your efforts to secure a better job, or any job at all. Background checks can also pose a problem for housing applications, apartment rentals, or even college financial aid applications.
Personal and professional relationships may also suffer in the years following a DWI conviction as you experience feelings of shame, embarrassment, or worry about how they feel about you following this conviction. In other cases, family or friends may be concerned for your well-being and regularly ask about your drinking or DWI which may cause resentment if you consider them to be prying into your personal life.
The fact is that there are severe and long-term consequences for drunk driving, but even if you’ve been arrested for drunk driving, the verdict isn’t final yet. It is imperative that you contact an experienced San Antonio DWI attorney to fight on your behalf in order to minimize the short-term and long-term consequences of your drunk driving arrest.
The law offices of Fears Nachawati are here to help if you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI or DWI. If you would like to know more about how the consequences of drunk driving, or to discuss how they may be reduced or avoided in your specific case, don’t hesitate to reach out to Fears Nachawati for an experienced Texas DWI attorney.
Give them a call at (866) 705-7584, or visit one of their offices, available in Houston, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth, and San Antonio.