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Did You Know a DWI in Texas Ruins Your Credit?

…As if thousands of dollars in fines, jail time, public humiliation, and the loss of your job weren’t enough!

Oh, and then you have car impound fees, bail, court costs, higher auto insurance premiums, and charges for alcohol education classes. You might also face community service time and have to use an ignition interlock device…

There’s no law that says a DUI goes onto your credit report once upon your conviction.

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But, if you add up all the costs for the typical Texas DWI/DUI ($10,000 – $17,000), and the fact that you can pay most of them with a credit card, you could easily find yourself in a world of credit trouble. And that goes doubly if you already have a shaky financial situation.

Here are some specific financial charges related to your DWI conviction that affect your credit score:

1. Your Credit Utilization Ratio Skyrockets

Part of your credit score is determined by how much of your available credit you use. Once you cross 30%, that sends a bad signal to the major credit bureaus.

You can calculate yours by adding up all the available balances on your cards, and then dividing that by the amounts outstanding on all your credit accounts.

2. Collections Actions

If you don’t pay your fines, and even if you’re unable, they get sent to a debt collection agency. Even a single collection action on your report significantly damages your credit score.

Some banks are so picky with your credit score that even if you have a minor collection action (like $50 – $100), they won’t give you a mortgage!

So it’s possible that in addition to ruining your credit score, you could lose out on your chance to buy that new home you’ve dreamed about for years!

What are the Consequences of a Bad Credit Score?

Some of these reach a little farther than others, but many definitely could happen to you (info from Forbes):

  1. If you’re getting divorced, credit scores can be used as leverage when you and your ex divide your assets
  2. You may not be able to rent an apartment
  3. Employers can legally choose not to hire you for a job
  4. Property insurers may raise rates
  5. You may have to put up a deposit to get utilities
  6. If you need a professional license to do your work, the government may be able to deny, suspend, or revoke it
  7. You may not be able to get a mortgage or might have to pay a higher interest rate
  8. If you want to access a home equity loan to get capital to start a business, or if you want to own a  franchise, you may not be able to get either of those

Anyway, it’s not in your best interest to get a DWI or DUI in Texas for so many reasons…and now you have many more. If you’re planning on drinking a lot, do yourself and everyone else a favor by taking the safe, responsible action and getting a cab or driving home with a designated driver.

If you need a criminal defense attorney to represent you for DWI contact us now!

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