Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime that can result in heavy punishments when caught. In many states, it is nearly impossible to remove the stain of a DWI from your criminal record. You can lose precious employment opportunities, denied apartment applications and state licensing for some careers, and even lose scholarship programs due to heaving a criminal history including a DWI on your record.
A Tarrant County DWI lawyer notes it is easy to be pulled over and arrested for drunk driving, but getting a DWI dismissed is much harder and, as we mentioned above, nearly impossible to have a DWI conviction removed from your criminal history.
How Driving While Intoxicated Hinder Your Driving Skills
In case of an emergency, your reaction time is slowed if you are driving while impaired. Alcohol also affects your ability to see clearly. To drive safely, you will need to rely on all of your senses, which is impossible when intoxicated. Reduced concentration affects your driving skills, and you can put your life and those of other road users in danger.
You are likely to face tough penalties if you are convicted for driving while impaired. Read on to learn more about the severe consequences of a DWI conviction.
1. Jail Time
In many states, a first DWI is a misdemeanor, and can expect up to 180 days in the county jail. A second offense is still a misdemeanor and can result in up to one year in jail. Third time offenders are charged with a felony and sentencing can result in ten years in state prison.
Jail term sentencing will vary depending on various factors. For example, if your blood alcohol concentration is unusually high, your imprisonment time will be longer. Your jail term may become even longer if you injured or killed a person in an accident due to DWI.
2. Higher Insurance Rates
If you are arrested for DWI, your car insurance rates will be raised by your insurance company. A history of irresponsibility will make you a greater risk to insure. Some insurers may even double your premiums when arrested for DWI.
The law has imposed heavy fines on people arrested for driving while intoxicated. Fines and court fees vary depending on the county and state.
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The cost of alcohol education and treatment, chemical testing, and license restoration are among the factors that affect the overall cost to the DWI convict.
4. Driver’s Licence Suspension
You can get your driver’s license suspended for a certain period or even revoked due to a DWI arrest. In most cases, your driving license is suspended for up to one year for the first conviction. If you decline to take a sobriety test, your driver’s license is automatically suspended for six months even if you’re found innocent or acquitted. Driving is a privilege in America and by having a license you are obligated to comply with a field sobriety test.
5. Education and Treatment Programs
If you are convicted for DWI, your sentence can include education programs and alcohol abuse treatment programs. While undergoing these programs, the law may also require you to engage in community service activities.
6. Punishment For Minors
In Texas, individuals under the age of 21 can be arrested for driving with any amount of alcohol in their system per the zero tolerance policy. However, they are charged with a different offense known as driving under the influence. A DUI conviction carries a less severe punishment. First-time offenders can expect up to $2,000 in fines, a 1 year license suspension, and up to 180 days in jail.
The consequences for any type of impaired driving offense are likely to include a period of probation. During the probation period, you will have to provide periodic urine samples, maintain employment or full-time education. Your drinking habits will be monitored and the entire process is expensive and not included in the fines you receive from the judge for the original conviction. Probation periods can last from 6 months to 10 years.
Learn the easy way and avoid the situation altogether by making responsible decisions when you choose to consume alcohol. Rely on a dedicated driver, Uber, or taxi’s to get around. Driving intoxicated puts your life and the lives of everyone else on the road at risk. It’s not worth the risks involved.