2 secondary penalties that make fighting a DWI charge worthwhile
A significant portion of those arrested for a DWI offense in Texas plead guilty because they either believe that there is no way to fight the charges that they face or that the consequences they’re likely to face aren’t serious enough to warrant a rigorous defense, possibly because they have no prior arrests on their record.
Before someone commits to a guilty plea, they need to understand that the criminal penalties possible for a first DWI are noteworthy, but there are also consequences that are not part of a criminal sentence that can have a major impact on someone’s future. The following secondary DWI consequences might motivate someone to defend against DWI charges.
Insurance rate hikes follow a conviction
Insurance companies charge different people very different amounts of money for the same type of coverage. They base those rates on the likelihood that someone will cause a crash that leads to major claims against their policy. Impaired driving has a strong association with severe collisions, which means that insurance costs increase significantly after a conviction.
According to industry research, the average annual insurance costs in Texas are $1,415 for someone without a DWI on their record. Those with a single DWI conviction can expect to pay $2,178, which is a 54% increase. Drivers can expect those increased insurance costs to persist for at least three years, if not longer, after their conviction.
There are potential career consequences of having a criminal record
For some professionals, a DWI arrest will automatically translate to career consequences. Someone who drives semi-trucks for a living, for example, may become temporarily ineligible based on both federal rules and employer policies.
Even those who don’t drive on the job will often find that a DWI conviction can have a major chilling effect on their careers. Some employers have internal policies prohibiting criminal convictions while working for the company. Many others will perform background checks when hiring or promoting workers. Although a DWI doesn’t automatically prohibit someone from getting a job somewhere, it might be the deciding factor if there are multiple applicants and only one of them has a criminal record.
Although it often seems difficult, it is possible to fight back against DWI charges. Reviewing the state’s evidence with the help of an attorney and learning more about DWI statutes can help someone accused of impaired driving make more informed choices about how they respond to their charges.