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How long does a drunk driving charge stay on your record?

How long does a drunk driving conviction in Texas haunt you? Whether you plead guilty or are convicted at trial, having a drunk driving conviction on your record is a heavy burden nobody wants to bear.

It takes just minutes for someone to pull up everything there is to know about you through an online background check -- whether they have your permission or not. Many employers won't hire someone if they see a drunk driving conviction in that person's past.

Employers often fear that the potential employee could have a substance abuse problem that will lead to further trouble down the road. If you were convicted of a felony DWI, you may also have trouble finding someplace to rent. Obtaining a professional license to work in certain industries may be outright impossible.

Beyond that, having a prior conviction for DWI substantially increases the penalties you face for a subsequent DWI. In Texas, your first offense can result in six to 180 days in jail and up to $2,000 in fines. Your second offense, however, can get you up to a year in jail and $4,000 in fines. For a third offense, you could face a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.

Many states have what is known as a "look-back" period. This is how far back the court will look at your record when deciding how severe of a sentence to impose on a new DWI charge. In essence, in some states, a drunk driving conviction "falls off" a record after a certain number of years for the purposes of sentencing if you're caught behind the wheel while intoxicated once again.

Texas is not one of them. Texas is one of the few states with a lifetime look-back period. The only exception is how far back a judge will look when imposing an ignition interlock device. A DWI conviction from 20 or 30 years ago has the same legal weight as a DWI charge two or three years ago if you're charged again.

There's very little forgiveness these days, for drunk driving offenses. If you're charged with drunk driving, talk to an experienced DWI attorney right away in order to understand your options.

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329 South Guadalupe Street
San Marcos, TX 78666

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