The state of Texas is serious about reducing incidents of drunk driving to zero. If convicted of driving while intoxicated, you face stiff penalties, disruption to your personal life and obstacles to future plans.

Texas penalties

If you are a first offender, you will deal with a Class B misdemeanor. The fine will be up to $2,000, you could face jail time of 72 hours to 180 days and a driver’s license suspension of 90 days to one year. If testing shows your blood alcohol content level is at or above .15 percent, the charge will become a Class A misdemeanor, and penalties escalate significantly.

Life without a license

If already employed, you could lose your job over a DWI conviction, especially if your work involves driving. The DWI mark will go on your record, which may make finding a new job difficult. It is a common practice nowadays for employers to run a background check on job applicants. When they see you have a DWI conviction, they may choose an applicant who has a clean record and appears to be more trustworthy. If working toward an occupation such as a teacher or doctor, the DWI mark may stand in your way. It may disqualify you from obtaining the state licensing or certification you need for employment in professions like these.

Insurance issues

To have your driving privileges reinstated, you must show proof you carry an auto insurance policy that at least includes the minimum coverage required in Texas. Because of the DWI on your record, your current insurer may view you as a high-risk driver and either cancel your policy or issue a new one with a high premium. As a result, you may have to shop for new coverage.

Learning to cope

When you carry a conviction for driving while intoxicated, people see you in a different light. Perhaps you have acted responsibly in the past, but suddenly friends and family members wonder if they can trust you. This alone should keep you from getting behind the wheel when you have had a few drinks. However, if law enforcement arrests you for DWI, remember that there are legal options for you to explore to obtain the best possible outcome for your case.