By McKinney Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Driving while intoxicated convictions are very intensive with consequences that are far ranging. Most of the consequences are what lawyers and courts refer to as “direct” consequences. This means we know what those consequences are and we can see them coming.
Indirect consequences are much more difficult to calculate. An example of a direct consequence of a drunk driving conviction is the potential for probation or an interlock device on a car. The law requires it.
An indirect consequence, on the other hand, is what will your boss think. That’s the hard part to know.
Common Direct Consequences of a DWI Conviction
The punishment for a Driving While Intoxicated Offense in Texas is This:
- Up to 2 years probation for misdemeanors (DWI 1st or 2nd);
- Up to 180 days jail for DWI 1st with blood alcohol under (BAC) 0.15;
- Up to 1 year of jail for DWI 1st with BAC 0.15 or greater;
- Up to 1 year of jail for DWI 2nd;
Other requirements for DWI probation (direct consequences) are the inability to terminate probation early, the requirement for interlock devices for DWI 2nd or more or if the BAC is greater than 0.15. There is a new “superfine” the legislature requires if a person is sentenced to jail on a driving under the influence case of $6,000.
Indirect Consequences Which Can Be Harmful to a Career
There are certain professions where a DWI affects you and some where they don’t. If you drive a school bus then a DWI is bad news. If you are law enforcement or a first responder, then again – it will cause you problems. Pilots obviously have major headaches with DWI arrests with the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”).
But what if you’re a doctor or a registered nurse? You could have licensing issues because the boards which regulate physicians and/or nurses in Austin will want to make sure there aren’t underlying substance issues.
There are some professions which simply don’t have much of an intersection with DWI arrests. If you are a CPA, a hairdresser, or even an attorney – a misdemeanor DWI shouldn’t do you much professional harm.
But remember a criminal conviction is permission for someone to discriminate. Is it possible you could lose a job working at a bank because of a DWI arrest or conviction? I would hope not – but if your boss was a victim of a drunk driver then potentially it could happen.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.