Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs carries stiff penalties in Texas that can affect your freedom, finances and future. Understanding the potential consequences can help deter drunk driving and prepare you in case you face charges.

There are several potential penalties depending on the specifics of your case.

Loss of your license

A DUI conviction often results in losing your license. For a first offense, you might lose your license for up to a year. Subsequent convictions can lead to longer suspensions. You may be eligible for an occupational license that allows driving for work purposes only after some initial suspension time. Repeat offenders may lose their opportunity for an occupational license.

Jail time

Conviction for DUI often comes with a jail sentence. First-time offenders may receive a shorter sentence, while repeat offenders might face longer periods. Felony DUI charges may bring the potential for state prison sentences.

Fines and fees

Most DUI convictions also come with a variety of fines, including court costs, probation fees, alcohol education classes and administrative expenses. Sometimes those fines increase with subsequent convictions.

Higher insurance rates

A DUI conviction will raise your auto insurance rates. According to Forbes, auto insurance premiums increase by an average of 70% after a DUI conviction. Multiple convictions could make auto insurance unaffordable.

Employment issues

Many employers conduct a criminal background check as part of the hiring process. Some of them will not hire those with a DUI conviction. A DUI can also limit job prospects in fields such as transportation and education.

The consequences of drunk driving add up fast in Texas. Understand the risks so that you can better appreciate the value of a sound defense.