Drunk driving convictions come with a whole host of consequences. Even a first-time DUI can result in:
- Jail time
- Hefty fines
- Court costs
- The installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device
- Driver's license suspension or revocation for up to a year
- Higher insurance rates
- Social stigma/judgment of your peers
- Mandatory substance abuse education classes
- Community service
These implications of a drunk driving offense are relatively well-known, though you may not necessarily be aware of all of them if you've never had contact with the criminal justice system in the past.
Another life-altering collateral consequence of a DUI is one that many people don't readily consider: the loss of current employment or future job opportunities.
How does drunk driving affect employment?
Depending on your position, losing your driving privileges could affect your ability to perform the necessary tasks of your job. In particular, commercial drivers like truckers, taxi drivers, mass transit operators, postal workers, and delivery men and women (like UPS and FedEx drivers, for example) must be able to get from "point A" to "point B;" if they are unable to do that, they could be fired.
Even people who don't drive for a living could see their jobs impacted by a DUI. Imagine you are a plumber or an electrician. While your primary position is, of course, repair and installation of pipes or wiring, you still need to be able to get to job sites. If you can't drive yourself there, it can have a huge impact on your work.
Loss of future opportunities
DUI convictions can also have a long-term impact after the initial consequences are over and done. The vast majority of employers routinely run background and criminal history checks on applicants. Having a criminal record might prevent you from being offered a position for which you are otherwise qualified. It might be possible to have a DUI arrest or conviction expunged, but there are waiting periods, and the process can be confusing without an attorney's guidance.
An experienced DUI defense attorney could help you prevent years of negative consequences. A skilled lawyer could challenge the evidence against you (arguing that Breathalyzer results are tainted or the initial traffic stop was unlawful, for example) or negotiate with prosecutors so that you face lesser charges. If you are facing drunk driving charges, contact an attorney as soon as possible.