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Consequences of DWI go beyond law

Duluth, Minnesota, Fire Chief Dennis Edwards submitted a letter of resignation and accepted a demotion after a drunk driving arrest in late March. Edwards will return to his previous position as assistant fire chief, and with it will take a substantial pay cut.

But Edwards’ story is not unique. Many people convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) will see consequences that go far beyond a fine, license suspension or even jail time. A DWI can affect your life in ways you might not have thought of.

Your career

The job market is a competitive place, and, according to Forbes, 96 percent of companies perform background checks on applicants. Having an impaired driving conviction on your record could cause you to lose out on a position

If you have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for a living, your livelihood could be as risk if you get a DWI in Minnesota. Even if you’re not driving a CMV at the time you’re cited for drunk driving, you could still potentially lose your CDL.

Minnesota holds commercial drivers to a higher standard than others. While the legal blood alcohol concentration limit for most drivers is .08, for those driving a CMV the limit is .04.

Travel

Having a DWI on your record may affect your ability to travel to Canada. Whether driving into Canada or flying in, it is usually up to the discretion of the border agent if they will allow you entry.

To make it more likely to get into Canada you can apply for “rehabilitation” and a “temporary resident permit” through the Canadian government. If approved, it will waive the DWI restriction.

Car insurance

After a DWI conviction, most auto insurers will consider you a high-risk driver. In Minnesota, car insurance increases by 88 percent on average after a DWI. Even without any subsequent convictions, a DWI could affect your insurance rates for up to 10 years.

Get help

Because impaired driving is such a serious crime with far-reaching consequences, it might be in your best interest to fight the charges if you’re arrested. Consider speaking with an attorney to see if this is the right option for you.

A DWI does not have to haunt you for the rest of your life.

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