A DWI conviction carries with it serious penalties of jail time, fines, license suspension and DWI classes that are dependent on the unique circumstances of your DWI event and how many prior DWIs you may have had. Regardless if the DWI charge is your first or second, a conviction is serious, and what can sometimes be more serious are the collateral consequences that follow a conviction. These consequences are significant because they can determine the quality of your life for the rest of your life, not just while you are in jail.
The Collateral Consequences of a DWI Conviction
There are a number of collateral consequences of a DWI conviction that will have lasting effects on your life. Generally speaking, these consequences include your social, financial, professional, and familial statuses. More specifically, they include:
- Security Clearance. If you need to renew or apply for security clearance to either maintain or accept a position that requires security clearance, you could find it difficult. A DWI conviction could implicate you as a security concern, and as such, you could either lose or be denied security clearance.
- Pilot's License. If you are a pilot either for commercial or recreational purposes, your pilot's license could be in jeopardy. The primary factor here is receipt of a medical certificate required for issuance or renewal of a pilot's license. A DWI conviction could initiate worries that you have a substance abuse problem, which is grounds for denial of a medical certificate.
- Medical License. If you are a doctor or other healthcare professional who requires a medical license, then you face restriction, suspension or revocation of your medical license if you are found guilty of a DWI offense. The problem here is primarily the danger you may impose on your patients if you use or abuse chemical substances, and a DWI conviction implicates you for the same.
- Nursing License. The same matter as with a medical license applies to a nursing license: a DWI conviction could indicate you have a chemical substance abuse problem. As such, you could be considered as a threat to your patients.
- Child Custody. If you are divorced but with children, your custodial rights could be impacted by a DWI conviction. The conviction could be used against you by the other parent who fears the harm in which you could potentially place the child(ren), and a judge will be willing to listen to these fears and act accordingly.
- Firearm Possession. You have a Second Amendment right to own firearms, but this constitutional right can be taken from you if you are convicted of a felony DWI. Felons are not permitted to have access to or use firearms. Though you could eventually be fully pardoned and your gun ownership rights could subsequently be reinstated, this process is long and difficult.
Other collateral consequences include but are not limited to difficulty renting a home, securing federal student aid for educational aspirations, applying for any kind of position at most private companies -- especially those that may require you to drive on their behalf or those that view a DWI conviction as a liability.
Why Fighting a DWI is Imperative
If you care about your reputation, your career, your livelihood, your family, yourself, then you owe it to yourself to fight the DWI charge. Failing to do so means you risk all of the above and more.
To fight the charge, you must find and retain an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney with extensive trial experience. Extensive trial experience is not only a prerequisite for designation as a Board-certified DWI attorney by the National College of DUI Defense and as a Board-certified criminal defense attorney by the Texas Board of Legal Certification, it is also means for an experienced lawyer to acquire useful insight and develop smart, aggressive defense strategies.
Doug Murphy is Board-certified as both a DWI attorney and a criminal defense attorney, one of only two attorneys to possess these certifications simultaneously in the State of Texas. Contact Doug Murphy today either online or at 713-229-8333 to discuss your case and start a DWI defense based on facts and developed to protect your rights, your freedom, and your future.