Texas has strict requirements for permitting residents to have a license to possess a firearm. Though the second amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right to possess firearms, lawmakers believe it is a danger to public safety to allow people convicted of serious crimes to own firearms. Being convicted of a felony or class A or B misdemeanor disqualifies you from having a Texas firearms license for several years. Thus, a conviction for driving while intoxicated will result in your firearms license being revoked.
A first-time DWI offense without any aggravating factors is a class B misdemeanor. Merely being charged with DWI causes an automatic suspension of your firearms license while your case is ongoing. If you are convicted, your license will be revoked, and you must wait five years to reapply for the license.
A second DWI offense is a class A misdemeanor but could disqualify you from having a firearms license. Texas law states that a person who is twice convicted of a drug or alcohol-related offense within 10 years is considered chemically dependent and ineligible to receive a firearms license.
This is the second in a two-part series about the ways that a driving while intoxicated conviction can harm you beyond legal penalties, such as prison time. The last post focused on how a DWI on your criminal record can affect your ability to obtain or retain employment. There are other ways that a DWI conviction can take money out of your wallet, both directly and indirectly.
It should come as no surprise that your auto insurance expenses will increase after a DWI conviction. Drivers with a DWI conviction can have difficulty finding:
The consequences of a driving while intoxicated conviction can extend beyond the punishments that a court issues you. Prison time, fines and restricted driving privileges can be the immediate outcomes of a conviction. However, people with DWI offenses on their criminal records can face societal limitations on their basic living needs, such as obtaining employment and credit. This is the first in a two-part series on the extended consequences of a DWI conviction. This first part focuses on how a DWI conviction can hurt your ability to obtain or keep a job.
Your first employment concern if you are convicted on a DWI charge is whether you can keep your job. Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning that many employers do not need a reason to terminate an employee. For employees protected by contracts, there may be language in the contract that allows an employee to be terminated if he or she is convicted of certain crimes. If your conviction results in significant prison time, you are highly unlikely to keep your job. If you avoid prison time, there are several factors that may determine whether your employer retains you, including:
A conviction of driving while intoxicated in Texas has consequences beyond the court-issued punishment. The conviction will show up on your criminal record when someone conducts a background check on you. A DWI record could prevent you from getting a new job, bank loan or lease on an apartment. Proposed Texas legislation would allow one-time offenders to seal their DWI records. The “Second Chance Bill” has passed the Texas House of Representatives and Senate and is awaiting Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval. The bill has received bipartisan support, based on the idea that an isolated DWI incident should not punish a person for the rest of his or her life.
How It Works
The bill would amend the Texas code regarding the nondisclosure of non-violent class C misdemeanors and DWI convictions with a blood alcohol content level of less than 0.15. Texas passed a similar bill in 2015 that applied to non-violent class A and B misdemeanors. A person could petition a court to seal the record of his or her DWI conviction in Texas, as long as:
A Texas appellate court recently ruled in favor of a man who argued that the state punished him for having multiple driving while intoxicated convictions without proving his previous conviction. In Oliva v. The State of Texas, the appeals court overturned a lower court decision to convict the defendant of a Class A misdemeanor for DWI, saying it should have been a Class B misdemeanor conviction. According to Texas law:
A first-time DWI offense is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in prison and a maximum fine of $2,000.
A second-time DWI offense is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison and a maximum fine of $4,000.
The case addressed how a prior DWI conviction must be presented when a subsequent DWI charge is made.
The Law Offices of Sam H. Lock, with offices in San Antonio and Seguin, Texas, provides criminal defense representation for people charged with state and federal crimes throughout Texas and the United States, including San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, Waco, Hondo, New Braunfels, Laredo, Kerrville, San Marcos, Boerne, and Del Rio, Bexar County, Guadalupe County, Comal County, Wilson County, Gonzales County, Kendall County, Bandera County, Caldwell County, Hays County, Travis County, Medina County, Blanco County, Burnet County, Atascosa County, Live Oak County, Nueces County, Uvalde County.