Handcufss and Car Key and a Glass of Wine


Justin M. crozier Nov. 17, 2016

Long Term Effects of a DWI in Missouri

One of the most common offenses in Missouri is Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).  It happens to people who are old and young.  It happens to people who have never been in trouble with the law and people with long criminal histories.  It happens after a few drinks or a week long bender.  But it happens all the time.

That isn’t to say that it is okay to get a DWI, or that it's not dangerous when someone is driving while they are intoxicated.  All it means is that you probably know someone who has been involved in a DWI and that it happens to normal people.  People that you love.

While there are some short term consequences of getting a DWI, there are a number of more long term effects as well.  In reality this crime, if not dealt with correctly, could have a number of long term consequences.  You could feel the shockwaves of this event for years to come.

The long term consequences

Losing your license – A DWI can, and often will (if you don’t take care of it quickly) result in losing your driver’s license.  You can lose it for as little as 30 days or as long as several years.  This depends on whether it is your first time getting a DWI, if you refused a BAC check, and what your BAC was.  If you have a job that requires you to drive, this could be a huge problem.  However, most people will feel this effect.  In Kansas City, Independence, Blue Springs, Harisonville… well really anywhere in the greater KC Metro you need to drive if you are going to live.  Most people can’t walk to the grocery store or run errands by getting a taxi.  Losing your license in this city means you are going to have major problems doing almost anything.

Background checks – Most employers run background checks.  They look into what you have done, if you have any major crimes, or if you have something that shows up on  A DWI does not look good on your record.  If you are in close running with someone else and you have this on your record, then you may lose the job.  It is possible to get a DWI expunged… but only under very limited circumstances.  If you are applying for student loans, or if you are trying to get a scholarship or a grant, then you could be running into some very serious trouble.

Employment – If you are already employed, your boss is likely to find out.  After all, you probably got put in jail that night and had to get bailed out.  You can’t drive yourself home (obviously) so you will need a ride and you won’t have your car the next day.  Maybe you can just call in sick… but odds are your boss is going to figure out what happened and they are not going to be happy.  Additionally you are going to have to schedule court dates, community service, and SATOP classes.  All of that is going to take time away from work, and it can be very difficult to explain why you need to take off every Friday to go work at the food pantry for a month.  If your job requires you to drive already then you might become unemployed in a hurry.

Auto Insurance – Normally after a DWI conviction your auto insurance rates will go up.  In fact they can go up dramatically.  You are typically considered to be a “high risk” driver, which means that you might see your rates double.  There are a great many insurance companies that will just cancel you outright because they consider you too risky to insure.  You may have to wait two to three years for your rates to drop again.  This is a pretty serious and costly issue.  I will say, if you get an attorney to help you it is possibly you can avoid the conviction entirely.

Personal Relationships – After you have a DWI arrest or conviction, you are probably going to experience a change in the way your friends and family look at you.  They may say you are an alcoholic.  They may not trust you they may try and pry and get overly involved in your personal life.  You might feel embarrassed and not want to talk to people about it.  If you continue to drink afterwards, people may think you have a serious problem.  This is a tough problem to deal with, and there is no easy fix.  Try and stay positive.  However, if you can minimize the damage in other areas, then this will be much easier to handle.

Professional Relationships – Having a DWI arrest, not even considering the conviction, can certainly change the way that coworkers look at you.  They may think that you are too risky, or untrustworthy.  You might be able to keep the arrest from them, but if your arrest or conviction is publicized (or if you have a mugshot posted online by one of those sites) you may face public and professional embarrassment.  Some people can face huge losses in income if this becomes well known.

Education – Many schools may look down on you for having received a DWI.  This is especially true for someone who is an underage drinker.  You may not be able to get into the school you want.  You may not be able to get the scholarship you want, and you may lose opportunities at good internships because of the background check.  Most colleges require that you disclose any prior criminal history on their application, and lying might be just as bad, if not worse, than getting the DWI itself. 

In short, getting an arrest can have a huge negative effect on you for years afterwards.  A conviction is even worse.  Do your best to be responsible when you are drinking.  Get a cab if you need to.  Try to help your friends if they are getting a little too caught up in the evening as well.

That said, if you do find yourself in trouble, contact an attorney right away.  You have a very short window to get your license back and to protect the rest of your rights.  Hiring an attorney can be expensive, but not hiring an attorney can cost you even more.

Good luck out there.