IT’S A SIMPLE DWI, WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?
Hidden costs of a DWI
We must remember that any oppression,
any injustice, any hatred,
is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
Being arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DWI) or even just operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs in Texas can intensely impact your life and the lives of those around you who you love and care about. Jail time, loss of your driver’s license, unbearable automobile insurance premiums, loss of your job, eviction from housing, and bad credit ratings are but a few of the problems that can result from a DWI.
Just because the officers took your driver’s license, your world has changed. Following are a few of the many things you can no longer do although you have NOT been convicted of any crime or EVEN appeared in court:
• Cash a check
• Open a bank account
• Buy car insurance
• Rent a car
• Rent a hotel room
• Enter a federal building
• Board an airplane
• Obtain certain jobs
Have you had a friend, co-worker, or even worse, an attorney, tell you a DWI is no big deal? Heaven forbid that they say you may be able to save money and just plea it yourself, “the worst that will happen is you will go to DWI Class and pay a fine.”
STOP—BE CAREFUL! Even in a small county court there are many hidden costs. Following is a list of potential costs associated with a DWI:
- Between 180 days in jail and 99 years in prison
- $2,000 – $10,000 fine
- Community service with the number of hours varying between the different counties.
- Electronic monitoring for you and/or your car
- Complete a DWI Class
- Attend a Victim Impact Panel
- You may be fired from your present job
Your credit rating may be downgraded
- Many insurance policies will not allow you to drive a company vehicle with a conviction — your boss will have no choice –you will be fired
- Loss of your driver’s license for up to 2 years (MUST APPEAL THIS WITHIN 15 DAYS OR IT IS TOO LATE)
- If you get your driver’s license back, you’ll have to pay up to $2,000/yr. for three years to keep it.
- Lifetime loss of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (15 DAYS to appeal)
- Lifetime inability to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (15 DAYS to appeal)
- Loss of a Pilot’s License (15 DAYS to appeal and various other reporting requirements )
- Loss of right to vote (Felonies)
- A crime to own a gun (Felonies)
- Your auto insurance can increase by thousands of $$$ each year for years to come
- You may be prevented from entering foreign countries including Canada
- You may be evicted from many rental units and others may refuse to allow you to move in
- Many future jobs may be closed to you due to a conviction
- Life insurance policies may be up rated, canceled, or new coverage denied.
- Health insurance policy rates may be increased.
These are only the most common hidden costs of a DWI. Your record will be under scrutiny for years to come and there easily can be other negative issues caused by a conviction.
When the police officer behind you in traffic runs your vehicle license plate on the computer it can link the prior DWI conviction to the plate and you may be stopped to make sure you are safe to drive. If there is alcohol on your breath you will probably go to jail.
With the “Internet” reporting of a person’s criminal history and convictions your personal business will be there for the entire world to see. A DWI conviction will follow you forever and wherever.
The point we are stressing is that there is no such thing as a “Simple DWI”. The costs are extreme and you may continue to pay for years to come.