George F. Hildebrandt
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Collateral consequences of a New York DWI conviction

Most people know that a DWI conviction means receiving criminal penalties such as fines or imprisonment. The major consequence of having your license potentially suspended or revoked also presents an important concern.

However, many do not realize that there can also be other, less immediate but no less serious consequences. These are often called collateral consequences because the DWI statutes do not list them as a penalty.

Impact on career

If you are practicing as a licensed professional or planning to become one, a DWI conviction can affect your ability to do so. Professionals who may have to worry about this include doctors, nurses, teachers and others. The specific extent of the consequences can depend on the rules your profession's governing organization puts forth.

In some cases, the rules may set forth specific consequences for various types of convictions. Other rules merely incorporate requirements such as maintaining good moral character. You may need to persuade your professional organization that the circumstances of your DWI conviction do not show you do not have good character or that it does not affect your professional practice.


Those who are not U.S. citizens may face roadblocks in the immigration process or even deportation. Even green card holders may face immigration consequences if it is decided that they committed a crime of moral turpitude. A DWI is not always, by definition, such a crime, but can be one based on the circumstances; specifically, it is likely to pose problems if it included a controlled substance offense.

Custody and visitation

If you are in the process of a custody dispute, the DWI can serve as evidence concerning your ability to parent safely. Such a conviction can affect your visitation or custody rights.

Insurance and civil suits

If the circumstances that led to the DWI conviction included an accident, you may face significant issues getting coverage from your insurer, as well as drastically increased premiums. The conviction can also serve as highly persuasive evidence against you if the other party to the accident files a personal injury lawsuit.

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