When you’re a professional, a charge of driving while intoxicated (DWI) by drugs or alcohol isn’t just a problem — it can also be the end of your career. While everyone’s circumstances can be unique, there are numerous unexpected consequences of a drunk driving conviction when you either have or hope to have a professional future.

How can a DWI conviction hurt you professionally? Consider these examples:

1. You can lose scholarships, loans and student housing.

Universities are concerned about their images, so many no longer permit students with any kind of criminal background to make use of on-campus housing. You may also lose scholarships or other funding for your education once you have a criminal record. This can keep you from even getting your career started.

2. You could lose your position at your company.

Many companies are also sensitive to public perception — so they enforce morality clauses in their professional contracts. Your conviction for a DWI could put you on the outs with your current employer very quickly.

3. Your reputation may be permanently damaged.

Depending on where you live (and whether you were in an accident), there may be publicity surrounding your case that irrevocably damages your reputation. Once your clients have lost trust in you, it may be very hard to gain back.

4. You could lose your license to practice in your profession.

Most professional licensing boards require you to reveal any kind of conviction for a crime. That can spark a review and additional punishment. Your license to practice can be suspended — or even revoked.

5. Finding new employment may be impossible.

A DWI conviction is something that you’ll have to disclose to future employers for the rest of your life — and that may make a lot of potential job offers vanish into thin air.

A drunk driving conviction — even a first offense — has consequences for professionals that go well beyond the fines, potential for imprisonment, lost driving privileges and increased insurance rates. If you’re charged with a DWI, find out what you need to do to fight back.