DWIs come with strict statutory consequences, including fines, jail time and license suspension. But, more than just these consequences, DWIs can complicate your whole life. Consider all the possible consequences when deciding whether to fight a first-time DWI offense.
Penalties for a DWI Conviction in Texas
In Texas, a first-offense DWI is a Class B Misdemeanor. The statute says that a conviction for a DWI with less than a .15 BAC includes the possibility of a fine not to exceed $2,000.00. It also includes the possibility of a jail sentence from three to 180 days, as well as a driver’s license suspension of 90 to 365 days.
However, it’s likely that the judge won’t force you to pay the full amount or serve all 180 days in jail. Many people have their sentences suspended; the fine, jail time and license suspension are “probated” while the person completes a probation period. If the person follows the terms of probation, the consequences are dropped. If the person breaks the terms, he or she will pay the suspended consequences.
Probation may seem like a good deal and a relief—but the terms can be challenging to follow. They likely include things such as:
- Regularly report to a probation officer
- Pay a monthly supervisory fee
- Take DWI classes
- Don’t drink for the period of probation
- Submit to a breathalyzer if you’re ever asked by police
- Other requirements, depending on your case
DWI and Future Legal Problems
Having one DWI conviction on your record can also mean stiffer penalties if you’re arrested again. The most significant consequences happen if the police arrest you for a second or subsequent DWI. Most people who are accused of drinking and driving only face one charge in their lifetimes. But, if you’re ever in legal trouble again, you’ll have wished that you’d fought the charges aggressively the first time.
DWI and Your Career
In a tight job market, a DWI conviction can make it challenging to get a job. When employers run a background check, they’ll see your criminal record. And you may be likely to lose out to job candidates with clean records.
DWI and International Travel
International travel can also be challenging with a DWI on your record. Canada used to ban Americans with DWI convictions from entering the country. While things have changed, a DWI conviction can just make going to Canada a hassle. You may also have trouble traveling to places in Asia (like China, Malaysia and Japan) and the Middle East.
Fight Allegations the First Time. Get Legal Help.
Whether or not you’re a world traveler, the extended consequences of a DWI make one thing clear: It’s important to fight a conviction aggressively the first time. Don’t just plead guilty and accept probation. Get an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side who can fight the charges and clear your name. You can’t predict what the future will bring, and you won’t want to have a DWI conviction holding you back. Contact Setzer Law Firm PLLC to learn more.