No one wants to face a DWI charge after a night enjoying herself with friends at a bar or, for that matter, with relatives at a holiday gathering.
Even first-time offenders face serious penalties for a DWI, and this is without even considering an aggravating circumstance like an accident or a child being in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
For a first offense, a person may receive up to 180 days in jail with at least 3 days served in some fashion. They may also face up to $2,000 in fines and a license suspension of up to one year.
Costly administrative penalties and fees are also likely. A person may also face indirect penalties in the form of higher insurance rates and a diminished professional and personal reputation.
In some cases, a DWI can lead to professional or licensing-related penalties as well.
Commercial drivers face a minimum 1-year disqualification for a DWI
For example, those who hold a CDL face a minimum 1-year disqualification from operating commercial vehicles for which a CDL is required.
This penalty applies even if the driver convicted was not operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense. It also applies to all drunk or drugged driving charges, including those based solely on the opinion of the arresting officer that the driver was under the influence.
A second offense means a person is no longer eligible to hold a CDL, although reinstatement might be possible after a decade.
Of course, not having a CDL for a year as well as a permanent black mark on one’s driving record can it make it very difficult to find another professional driving job.
A resident of the Houston area who drives for a living and who faces a DWI should evaluate his legal options carefully.