Driving under the influence is amongst the most common criminal offences. Even if drivers are extremely careful in general, the majority of them has declared that they have driven while intoxicated at least once in their life. But drivers who get behind the wheel intoxicated don’t only risk the chance of getting pulled over and being handed a fine. The consequences of a DUI conviction can affect multiple aspects of your life.
While the consequences on the short term can result in hours of community service, fines or a temporary suspension of the driver’s license, the long-term ones are far more serious and can shake up your life quite significantly.
Driver’s License Revocation
A DUI conviction can get your driver’s license suspended or even revoked. While for a suspension you only have to pay a fine and wait for a few months to get it back, if your driver’s license in revoke, you will have to do a lot more than that.
A revoked driver’s license means it was completely cancelled and, in order to get it back, you will need to pay all the civil penalties you owe and request approval from the state’s DMV. After receiving approval, you will have to go through a driving course and take both a written and road test, similar to what you had to do to get the license in the first place. This means you will have to take more money out of your pocket and spend time learning for the test again.
If you have a job that relies on your driver’s license, this could lead to serious job issues and even contribute to you losing your job.
If you lose your driver’s license, your job can be seriously affected, especially if you have to commute or if your job involves having to do a lot of driving. On top of that, you will have to get time off to attend court dates, community service or even jail time. This can lead to serious complication and will almost always result in job loss.
If this happens, you will have to look for a new job, which can be just as difficult with a DUI conviction on your record. Many employers are reluctant to hire someone who has a criminal record, even if it would not affect your job directly. Even if you hide it from your potential employer, most companies conduct background checks before hiring someone, so they will almost certainly find out about it.
Increased Auto Insurance Rates
After a DUI conviction, you can expect your auto insurance to increase quite significantly. This happens due to insurance companies considering that drivers with a DUI represent a higher risk to be involved in future accidents. Your insurance rates can double or even triple after a DUI and can go as high as $6,000 in some states.
This special insurance policy, also known as SR-22, will not happen only for the next year, but for up to three years after your DUI conviction. In some extreme cases, insurance companies may even decide to terminate your contract, which means you will have to find a new one willing to do business with you.
The impact a DUI can have on your relationship with friends and family can often be the biggest price you will have to pay. Some of them may choose to distance themselves from you, which can be very difficult to handle, while others may become too worried or concerned and will make you feel like you are being placed under observation.
You will have quite a few expenses to pay, such as fines and DUI attorney fees, which can affect your personal life. Maybe you will not be able to afford spending time with friends that much, which will lead to distance between you. Those expenses can affect your family’s budget as well and can result in tension and problems at home.
The majority of people who are convicted for a DUI are first-time offenders, which means they never had trouble with the law before. A first conviction can take a toll on your mental health, when having to go to court, or get arrested. Even if you will not be serving jail time, just the thought of it being possible can be scary.
The financial stress you will have to go through can bring out the worst in you. The total cost of a DUI in the US can reach up to $18,000, which is a lot to handle. In fact, most individuals who have to face a DUI conviction say that, apart from personal relationships issues, the financial stress was the worst part. Some of them had to fight depression afterward, which meant more money spent on therapy and going back into the world again.
The best way to cope with this is to surround yourself with friends and family and let them help you when you need it. Try to maintain a normal schedule and not judge yourself too harsh for the situation.
If you are in college, a DUI conviction can affect your education quite a lot. Some schools have a strict policy regarding scholarships and DUI convictions and may turn you down if you want to apply for one. If you already have a scholarship, you risk to lose it, either because of the school policy, or because you will not be able to attend classes due to having to go to court or do community service for a while.
On the other hand, if you are still in high school and plan on applying to college soon, you will most definitely be asked to talk about your DUI during the admission interview. This will not only affect your chances of getting in, but can prevent you from focusing on other aspects of the interview. Talking about a conviction is never easy, be it just a DUI conviction with no victims or major incidents involved.
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