Driving under the influence (DUI) just so happens to be the ONE criminal offense that is commonly committed by everyday citizens who do not have a prior criminal record, and it’s no surprise. In the United States, drinking plays a major role in our society. We drink beer when we watch football, we drink champagne on New Year’s Eve, we drink wine with dinner – and so on. The problem is, most people don’t know the science (or California’s DUI laws) behind alcohol so they drink too much, drive, and end up getting a DUI.
While the typical first-time DUI is a misdemeanor in California, it’s actually a “wobbler” offense, which means it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the facts of the case. Generally, if you seriously injure or kill someone else, you’ll be slapped with felony DUI charges.
Even as a misdemeanor, DUI is no joke. A conviction leads to all sorts of long and short-term consequences and it will hit you where it hurts – in your wallet. Here are some of the key aspects about a DUI conviction that every driver should fear:
- Driver License Suspension – A DUI typically leads to a four-month driver license suspension in California, which can make it very difficult to conduct your everyday life. See if you qualify for a restricted or hardship license.
- DUI School – If you are convicted of DUI, you will be required to successfully complete DUI School. There are four programs in California: 1) the Wet Reckless Program, 2) the First Offender Program, 3) the 18-Month Program, and 4) the 30-Month Program. The First Offender Program for example, is 30, 44, or 60 hours depending upon the DUI defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) during the arrest.
- Auto Insurance Rates – You will be required to maintain an SR-22 certificate for three years; however, the DUI will stay on your driving record for 10 years. During this 10 years, you will not be eligible for any insurance discounts.
- Employment – You could lose your current job if your employer frowns upon DUIs, or if you are sent to jail. A DUI can also affect promotions, professional licenses, and future employment because it comes up on background checks indefinitely unless it is expunged.
- Your Reputation – A DUI conviction can ruin your professional reputation, and it can also ruin your reputation at your church or in your community.
- Your Personal Relationships – You friends and family might lose respect if you are convicted of DUI. They might start thinking you have a drinking problem and need to enroll in AA classes. They may start watching you like a hawk, judging you for consuming any amount of alcohol, and even insist that you stop drinking “or else.”
- Higher Education – A DUI can affect college entrance, college scholarships, and other aspects of higher education. If you fail to disclose a DUI on a college application and the school later finds out about it, you can be expelled.
Related: DUI: Can I Avoid Jail?
Don’t let a DUI ruin your future. Contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. to meet with Attorney Landry for free, a board-certified expert in DUI defense.