Do not assume that those DWI charges just mean a license suspension and a fine, and then it is all over. The reality is that your career could change forever when those flashing lights come on in the rear-view mirror.
You must consider the long-term impact. Yes, a fine is problematic for your current finances. Maybe it strains your budget a bit this month. But that pales in comparison to the economic impact if you lose your job or cannot land a job in the first place. That DWI could keep costing you for months or years after you get pulled over.
First off, you may miss immediate time at work. Maybe you were on your way in for a shift when you got pulled over. Just missing that shift after the arrest could cost you your job. A conviction could land you behind bars for six months. Even if you avoid jail, you may miss more time after the arrest because you can't drive to work on a suspended license.
No matter what, you will miss time. Some employers work around it. Others do not. How stable is your job?
Some high-profile jobs may lead to a forced resignation, or you may get fired outright. Examples include coaches, school teachers and politicians. The problem here is that you represent more than just yourself. No one stops going to a grocery store because a clerk gets a DUI on his or her spare time. People may pull their kids off of a sports team or out of a school, though. Organizations often act to protect themselves, and that could mean the end of your job.
Getting another job can get complicated, especially when you need to drive for a living or at least as part of your job. Did the DWI happen on the clock? You may get fired outright, and other employers will not want to hire you because they worry that you will do the same thing again. For someone like a commercial truck driver, a career that took decades to build can all fall apart because of one mistake.
Even employers that do not need you to drive may feel wary of hiring you when they run that background check and see the DWI. Sometimes, they worry that deeper issues -- such as drug and alcohol addiction -- caused you to get the DWI in the first place. They may not want to hire you, fearing your addiction will lead to other mistakes in the workplace. If your skills and experience appear equal to another prospect's, it's hard to overcome the criminal record.
As you can see, you need to plan for the future. When facing charges, make sure you really understand your legal options.