Some people think that it is no big deal if law enforcement pulls you over on suspicion of OWI.

However, “Operating While Intoxicated” is a serious criminal offense, and one that can affect your future in ways you might not expect.

Job problems

If you are already a member of the workforce, an OWI mark on your record may cause you to lose your job, especially if your responsibilities involve driving for the company. If you are interested in applying for a new job, keep in mind that most employers runbackground checks on applicants. Even if you are well qualified, the recruiter may pass you by in favor of a candidate with a clean driving record when your OWI shows up in the search.

Educational concerns

Perhaps you are in college and are planning on post-graduate work at another university. The OWI on your record may create roadblocks to admission—educational institutions run background checks, too. Another problem arises if the career you have in mind requires state licensing or certification, such as teaching, nursing or law. Unfortunately, the OWI may disqualify you from obtaining the licensing or certification you need.

Insurance woes

Driver’s license suspension is among the penalties you would face if convicted of OWI. Naturally, you will want your license reinstated as soon as possible, but the subject of auto insurance will be the next hurdle. The OWI mark on your record may cause your current insurer to see you as a high-risk driver and cancel your policy. Obtaining a new policy is likely to come with a significantly higher premium: as much as three times more than you currently pay.

Your future

If law enforcement charges you with OWI, do not hesitate to explore your legal options. Part of a successful defense includes a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding your arrest. There may have been errorsor irregularities that could result either in reduced penalties, or in the dismissal of your case altogether. Given that your future hangs in the balance, you want the very best outcome possible when charged with OWI.