Most people understand that there are legal consequences to getting charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Texas. The fact that a DWI carries jail time, steep fines, the loss of one’s driving privileges and potentially the requirement for an ignition interlock device is common knowledge.
What fewer people stop to consider is how a DWI could affect their job. Anyone charged with criminal offense, including DWI, may find that the consequences to their professional career are as significant as the criminal consequences.
Professional drivers may lose their eligibility
Those who drive for a living can easily lose their job if they are convicted. Even if you were driving on your own time and not in a company vehicle, a DWI conviction could very well result in the loss of your commercial license. That may mean that you can’t work for a significant amount of time.
Your company may have a zero-tolerance policy for criminal convictions
Most first-time DWIs result in misdemeanor charges. You might imagine that a misdemeanor is not a big deal, but your employer may not agree. Many companies have a strict policy regarding criminal records and convictions.
Your current employer may choose to terminate your position based on your employment contract if you are convicted. Getting a job with a new company can prove hard, as many employers do background checks these days. Even if you can retain your job, your new criminal record could keep you from getting a promotion in the future.
Missing work and arriving late can endanger your career
Missing work for court will not endear you to your employer. Even if you don’t disclose that it is court and not an illness keeping you from work, your employer may take disciplinary action against you, depending on their attendance policy.
If you manage to avoid invoking the ire of your employer during court proceedings, you may find yourself dealing with the problems that arise from not having a license after a conviction. Relying on public transportation or the goodwill of friends could mean that you become chronically tardy to work. That could result and disciplinary action, potentially including the loss of your job.
Licensed professionals can lose their licenses over a conviction
Texas has licensing boards for a number of professions, ranging from teachers to medical professionals. These licensing boards help ensure that those providing professional services in Texas have the qualifications to do so.
They also ensure that estate professionals meet standards for both education and ethics. A criminal conviction can result in potential disciplinary action by the licensing board that governs your profession. You could lose your license, which could prevent you from pursuing your career.
There are many ways that a DWI could negatively affect the future of your career. Defending against pending criminal charges is the smartest approach and the best way to minimize the potential risks. If you have been arrested, speak with an experienced DWI defense attorney as soon as possible.