How a DUI Conviction Will Affect Your Future
One of the most common criminal offense charges that happen to drivers in the United States is Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Many drivers who were careful and had clean records have found themselves dealing with a DUI conviction, and then suddenly seeing their lives take an unusual and unwelcome turn with the severe long-term consequences and costs. Being convicted of DUI or DWI charges can have major ramifications, and some of these effects can linger for years to come. Many are aware of the short-term penalties, such as a driver’s license suspension, monetary fines, possibly jail time and having to get an Ignition Interlock device installed, but there are also long-term ramifications for how a DUI will affect your future that can inflict greater pain than most people ever expect.
Even for a first-time offense, the consequences of being found guilty of DUI will include penalties and fees which are both financial and driving related. For example:
- A person will have a permanent criminal record that will affect future employment prospects since the DUI will be searchable on any background check;
- You may lose your employment if you are required to have a valid driver’s license;
- It is increasingly becoming more common that a person will lose a driver’s license for at least one year;
- You will have to get an Ignition Interlock device put on any car that is driven – which does include any car or vehicle used for work;
- A driver will experience a significant increase in automobile insurance premiums and costs, including possibly being dropped for coverage;
- Traveling to other countries will be limited, since other countries such as Canada can prevent entry if a driver had a DUI or DWI on a criminal record;
- A person can lose their immigration status to legally stay in the United States.
If you are found guilty of a criminal offence there are a variety of sentences that could be imposed which would result in you receiving a criminal record. More specifically, any of the following sentences will result in a criminal record; suspended sentence, conditional sentence, jail sentence, or a fine. A criminal record can have serious and long-lasting implications, particularly with respect to your ability to travel to other countries and gaining employment in certain professions.
Some of the long-term consequences that DUI offenders may face include:
Background Checks: Many employers conduct criminal background checks before hiring applicants for work. A misdemeanor or felony DUI conviction will show up on a criminal background check and could stop an individual’s best efforts to be hired by many companies. Other organizations rely on criminal background checks as well including college and university admissions, financial institutions, and housing applications or landlords – when a landlord conducts a criminal background check and sees a DUI conviction, it could jeopardize an offender’s chances of securing a place to live.
License Revocation: Being convicted of DUI could result in the offender’s driver’s license being revoked for a period of up to two years for his or her first conviction. Not having a driver’s license can make it far more difficult to get to and from work or do a job properly if driving is a part of the occupation. Losing the ability to drive can be very stressful – without a driver’s license, individuals cannot run simple errands, visit with family or friends, or participate in their usual social activities if it requires them to drive. While using public transportation is an option, it can cause individuals to arrive late to their appointments if it does not coordinate with individuals’ schedules.
Sometimes a person who has a suspended license for DUI or DWI might still choose to drive. This decision is unwise, since it will impose further serious penalties. The consequences for driving while a license is suspended vary, but what is typical for a 1st offense is a person will have their car impounded for at least 30 days, along with being arrested and face further charges in court. If an individual is convicted for driving during the DUI license suspension period, they can face more fines up to $1,500 and will lose a license for an addition 6 months to 1 year. It is also not unusual for a person to be sentenced to more jail time as well after a conviction or guilty plea to the offense.
Ignition Interlock: Once a driver is convicted of a driving under the influence related charge, a person will have to install an Ignition Interlock device machine on any car they wish to drive. An Ignition Interlock device is an in-car alcohol breath screening device which works as a car Breathalyzer, that will prevent a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set limit of .02 in a driver’s breath . The Interlock device will be installed inside the car, usually near the driver’s seat and is connected to the ignition system on the car.
With how the new laws work now in most states for DUI charges, when a driver gets convicted of the offense – they must have the ignition interlock device installed after their license is reinstated if they want to legally be able to drive. In order to get a driver’s license reinstated, often times a person must first finish the mandatory suspension period and all other licensing requirements which also commonly involves taking several hours of DUI classes. The device is installed for the ignition interlock condition period. It must be used by anyone who drives the vehicle, including family and friends. Offenders can choose not to drive until the ignition interlock condition is removed from their license. It is also important to note that a driver who is required to have an Ignition Interlock as a condition to drive, will be responsible for paying for all installation and maintenance costs for having the device.
Car Insurance Rates: Many drivers do not consider the changes they will see to their car insurance rates following a DUI conviction. Auto insurance rates often skyrocket after a DUI or DWI offense conviction. Many times, only a high-risk insurance company, charging double the normal rates, will insure a convicted impaired driver. After being convicted of DUI, drivers should expect their car insurance rates to increase since individuals would now be considered more “high risk” drivers. It is possible for insurance rates to double or even triple for a period of several years, and some insurance companies may even terminate an individual’s auto insurance coverage all together.
As mentioned previously, the number of ways for how a DUI will affect your future due to the long term consequences of a conviction for driving under the influence or refusing to take the DUI tests will include high costs in fines, as well as a lengthy license suspension along with having to use an Ignition Interlock for a long period of time. It is very important that a person gets legal help for what to next immediately, in order to limit the negative impact a DUI or DWI related charge can have on you or your family’s lives for many years to come in the future. Having us examine the arrest details online as to what exactly happened, can allow us to find possible ways for options to get your drivers license and vehicle back, as well as other important information for how to fight the charges successfully in court. Only a local lawyer who reviews this crucial information in the arrest details can provide a person with the proper legal advice when dealing with the consequences a DUI charge, so please do not hesitate to contact us so we can discuss your best options of defense for what to do and how to win.