When we think of the punishment for a DWI conviction, a lengthy jail sentence, expensive fines, and losing the ability to operate a vehicle for a long period of time often come to mind. However, having a DWI on your permanent criminal record can have a negative impact on your employment, education, and other opportunities life has to offer.
A Texas DWI can affect the following aspects of your life:
- Employment opportunities - Most employers perform background checks on any potential new hires. If your DWI appears on a criminal background check, they will most likely not hire you. Employers often consider DWI convictions as a reflection of your character, not a regrettable mistake you vow to never do again. They feel that if they hire someone with a DWI on his/her record, that employee will show up to work either intoxicated or still hungover and be an unreliable burden to the company. If the job requires you to drive or operate machinery, employers would be concerned that you would end up hurting another person, which can result in a lawsuit because the company knowingly hired someone with a DWI conviction. In addition, the employer’s insurance company will increase their rates, much like your car insurance premiums.
- Current employment - Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning many employers can fire you for any reason, including a DWI conviction. Some company policies may contain a zero-tolerance policy for those convicted of certain crimes such as DWI, which automatically result in your termination. Professional licenses such as commercial driver’s licenses, medical licenses, teaching licenses, CPA licenses, and even real estate licenses are typically affected by a DWI conviction. Without a license, you can’t work.
- College and scholarships - When you apply to a college or university, these institutions often ask applicants to list any criminal convictions or arrests. If you have one or more DWI convictions on your record, they may deny your application. If they accept it, they will typically look for more qualified applicants before considering yours. If you are currently enrolled, some schools have a policy about reporting any arrests or convictions within a certain time. Failure to report can result in suspension or expulsion. A DWI conviction can also jeopardize your financial aid or scholarships.
- Renting or housing - Just like employers, apartment managers perform criminal history checks. If they discover your DWI conviction, they can deny your application. Additionally, managers often believe those with DWI are troublemakers that will lead to complaints by other tenants.
- Loans - Loan officers perform checks on your financial history, which includes your checking and savings accounts, your credit card accounts, and even your 401(k) account. However, they back also check your criminal background. A DWI conviction can raise concerns of your ability to pay, resulting in the denial of your loan application.
If you have been arrested for a DWI in Texas, our Hidalgo County criminal defense attorney at The Law Office of Rene A. Flores PLLC can help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case, which includes avoiding a permanent criminal record. But if you have been convicted of DWI, we can still help you get your record expunged or sealed, so it doesn’t appear on any criminal background checks performed by employers, colleges, and other professional institutions.
For more information, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.