While some US states classify a first DUI (driving under the influence) offense as a misdemeanor, it pays not to underestimate the penalties for a first offense extreme DUI especially in some states like Arizona. In Canada, all DUI or Impaired Driving or Refusal to provide breathe sample convictions are considered criminal.
When charged with DUI, it is also crucial that you understand the mandatory sentence, the nature of the charge, the punishments associated, and the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction.
DUI During COVID-19
Surprisingly, some areas still saw a rise in drunk driving cases even during the COVID-19 lockdowns. Whether it was people trying to calm their nerves down with a few drinks or the lifted restrictions on obtaining alcohol, law enforcement across the country reported an upsurge in people driving under the influence across the country.
Despite the closure of courthouses due to the lockdowns, DUI prosecutions are still rolling forward, even if a bit delayed. Since many establishments have been allowed to sell alcohol, one would think more people will drink in the comforts of their own homes. With the reported rise in cases, it’s apparent it’s not the case.
Major Ramifications of DUI
Make no mistake about it, a DUI conviction can have massive ramifications that can linger for years. Most are aware of the short-term consequences of a DUI conviction like fines and fees, temporary license suspensions, costly insurance premiums, participation in drunk driving education programs, court-mandated community service, and jail time.
Unfortunately, not many people are fully aware of the long-term repercussions of DUI. There’s this misconception that after you pay the fine and fulfill all the legal obligations, you’re good. Not true. A DUI conviction can undermine many of your future opportunities.
Learning the grave consequences of DUI is an essential step towards protecting yourself and your future. Some of the long-term consequences of a DUI conviction include:
This is a no-brainer. A DUI conviction can result in the revocation of your driver’s license. For first offenders, cancellation of the driver’s license can last until two years. If your position requires you to drive, this can result in job loss.
For many, losing their freedom to drive can be stressful. Without a license, you won’t be able to run simple errands, enjoy family visits, and participate in social activities.
Without a license, arriving to work on time might also become difficult for you. When you are frequently tardy, you can get frustrated and less focused on work. Eventually, your job performance might also suffer as a result.
A DUI arrest and conviction can also have a significant impact on your current job. Court dates, community service hours, and jail time will not only put havoc on your work schedule, but it can also put your job at risk.
If you are actively looking for a job, a DUI on your record can put you at a severe disadvantage. Understandably, some employers are adamant about hiring applicants with DUI convictions.
Also, while your DUI conviction may not always have anything to do with the job you are applying for, it might still hinder your prospects of getting the job, if not disqualify you outright.
Lastly, jobs that will require driving a company vehicle like cab driving jobs, sales, truck driving, and pizza delivery may ultimately be closed to you.
Most employers will conduct criminal background checks before hiring applicants. A felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction will appear in background checks and can thwart your best efforts to secure the job you want.
Background checks can also be done when applying for college financial aids, housing applications, and admission processes. Landlords also typically conduct background checks, and a DUI conviction might jeopardize your chances of securing the place you want.
A DUI arrest (much more a conviction) can adversely affect how your employer and co-workers perceive you. Sometimes, even if you try to keep things under wrap, a DUI arrest may be publicized by local media, staining your reputation permanently.
Depending on your company’s policy regarding DUI conviction, there is also the possibility you might lose your job.
Auto Insurance Rates
Following a DUI conviction, your automobile insurance rates can increase significantly. Drivers convicted of DUI are deemed “high-risk” drivers by most insurance companies. Expect that your insurance rates will double (or triple) for several years. In worst-case scenarios, some insurance companies will even terminate your coverage.
After a DUI arrest or conviction, you will likely experience feelings of shame and embarrassment. Concerned family members and friends might also become overly attentive to your behavior. This might cause you to become irritated or resentful. If anything, a DUI has the possibility of putting an unwanted strain on your relationships.
Regardless if you got your DUI conviction pre or post-pandemic, one thing is certain: you will suffer the repercussions of your DUI conviction for many years to come. If you want to protect yourself and your future, make it a policy not to drink and drive.