7 Hidden DWI Consequences You Have to See to Believe

dwi consequences

Dealing with a DWI can have you feeling like you’re stuck in a really bad dream. Only this nightmare ends with you behind bars and a permanent criminal record.

Here’s a sobering fact: a DWI conviction can have real and permanent consequences. And we’re not just talking about a night in jail to sleep it off, but significant financial and emotional damage that could affect your life for years to come. 

So, let’s look at some of the most surprising ways your life could change after you get pulled over for driving under the influence.

7 Hidden Consequences of a DWI 

#1 You Can Go to Jail and Pay Expensive Fines

If your blood alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit of 0.08%, you can be convicted of a DWI. 

There are four degrees of DWI charges; the most serious is first, and the most minor is fourth:

  • A fourth-degree DWI is a misdemeanor carrying a maximum jail sentence of 90 days and a $1,000 fine.
  • A third-degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor. The possible penalties are a $3,000 fine and up to 365 days in jail.
  • A second-degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor. The potential penalties are up to 365 days in jail.
  • A first-degree DWI is a felony, carrying a maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine.

The degree of the offense will depend on certain aggravating factors, like whether this is a first-offense DWI and whether there was a child in the car.

#2 You Could Lose Your Driver’s License

If you receive a DWI conviction, you will face an immediate suspension of your license. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, this could be anywhere from 90 days to a complete license cancellation—meaning you won’t ever be getting it back. 

What’s worse is that if you refuse to submit to the breathalyzer test, you can expect an automatic driver’s license suspension for a minimum of one year—whether or not you’re found guilty. 

#3 You Could Lose Your Car 

You read that right. The courts can actually take your vehicle away. This is called vehicle forfeiture and happens in high-profile DWI cases like second-degree or felony DWIs. If you’re convicted, the courts can confiscate your car and sell it at auction, never to be seen again. 

#4 If You Hit Someone, They Could Sue You

If you were drinking and driving and went on to wreck someone else, that other driver could drag you to court and sue for damages. You could be sued for their pain and suffering, loss of income, medical bills, and even punitive damages (damages awarded to punish the defendant). These things can add up quickly if the case goes to trial. 

#5 You’ll Have to Drive Around With a Breathalyzer

Let’s say the courts do allow you to walk away with your driving privileges. In that case, they may still require you to install an ignition interlock device that prevents you from starting your car if it detects alcohol in your system. Not only is it extremely embarrassing, but you’ll have to foot the bill for installation. 

#6 You’ll Have a Hard Time Getting a Job

If you’re convicted of a DWI, your employer can fire you. In fact, many companies—especially those involving transportation—have policies that state that if an employee is arrested for drunk driving or a similar offense, they will be terminated immediately. 

If your career involves driving, you may have difficulty finding a job as a DWI will show up on a background check. Or, if your license is suspended, you won’t be able to get to work. 

#7 Nobody Will Want to Insure You

You can expect to pay higher insurance rates or have your insurance policy canceled altogether if you’re convicted of a DWI. The reason? 

Your insurance company will feel that there’s a higher risk you might get into an accident and cause damage or bodily injuries to others—which means they’ll have to pay out more money on claims if they insure you. 

Get Out of Trouble — Call Martine Law Today

Impaired driving isn’t worth the risk. 

These seven consequences are just the tip of the iceberg of what a DWI conviction could potentially do to your life. 

If you’ve been charged with a DWI in Minneapolis, MN, don’t let this mistake define you forever, contact our DWI lawyers at Martine Law today. 

Author Bio

Xavier Martine

Xavier Martine is the Founder of Martine Law, a Minnesota criminal defense and family law firm. Serving clients in Minneapolis, MN, and surrounding areas, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of criminal matters, including DWIs, drug charges, misdemeanors, domestic violence, and other criminal charges. He also represents clients in family law matters, including divorce, child support, and child custody.

Xavier received his Juris Doctor from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being named among the “Top 10 Criminal Defense Attorneys Under 40 in Minnesota” in 2021 by The National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys. He was also named the “Best DUI Lawyer in Minneapolis” award in 2023 by Expertise.com and a “Rising Star” in 2023 by SuperLawyers.

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