How a DWI Conviction Can Wreck Your Life
1. A person will of course have his driver’s license suspended. In many fields of employment if a person loses his driver’s license then he will also lose his job. For many jobs the hard cold reality is that if you can’t drive then you can’t work either.
2. The fines for a DWI conviction are simply outrageous. For a first offense, the court fines range from $650-800; for a second offense the court fines approach $1,000; and for a third offense, the fines are more than $1,300.
3. One of New Jersey’s contributions to the United States is that we have invented the surcharge system. Many other states are now “copycatting” the New Jersey MVS surcharge system. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Services surcharge system rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars each year for New Jersey. Even though there is a tremendous out cry to abolish this system it is not going away. In addition to the heavy fines for DWI, you must also pay a $3,000 surcharge for a first and second DWI offense(s). Finally, for a third or greater DWI offense the surcharges are $4,500.
4. The court could impose community service for a second or third DWI offense for up to 180 hours. Therefore, if you like to drink and drive and if you are busted, then you better get used to picking up garbage on Saturday mornings as well.
5. The court could impose mandatory counseling or alcohol treatment through the Intoxicated Driver’s Resource Center (IDRC). The IDRC can also compel you to do more counseling than that which the court sentenced you to, including an additional 16 week program of classes.
6. A jail term is also a distinct possibility for most DWI cases. I have never seen a Municipal Court judge sentence a defendant to a jail term for a first time offense provided that there was no accident involved. However, for a second DWI offense the jail term ranges from 2 days to 90 days. For a third time offense, there is a mandatory 180 jail term. However, 90 days of the 180-day jail term can be served in an inpatient facility.
7. A DWI conviction can also ruin your credit. Many credit bureaus now include DWI fines and surcharges on your credit report. A marked up credit report with high DWI fines and surcharges on it will lower your credit score by hundreds of points. Consequently, many DWI defendants could have a really tough time finding employment. Most prospective employers now review your credit report before they decide to hire you. If your credit report has negative marks for DWI fines and surcharges do you really think that major corporations or Government Agencies are going to hire you?
8. If you are convicted of a DWI offense and if you are enlisted in the armed services, then you could be summarily discharged, or even required to take extensive alcohol education courses. Moreover, you could be restricted to the military base, be deprived of normal base privileges, or be given various other forms of punishment. A DWI conviction for a servicemember could also cause him a lose a rank or pay grade, he could be required to attend alcohol counseling, he could lose his driver’s license on the military base for up for up to one year, and he could have other on base restrictions imposed as well. Finally, in the more severe cases a servicemember could even be discharged or denied the right to reenlist into the service.
9. If you are a pilot you could also lose your flying license.
10. A DWI conviction could also affect your Government Security Clearance review.
11. If you are a teacher then your career could be ruined by a DWI conviction. If the Board of Education finds out about your DWI conviction, then you may not have your employment contract renewed, or you may be ultimately denied tenure.