If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), don’t kid yourself into thinking this is just another traffic ticket. DUI offenses are crimes that can have some serious consequences you’ll run up against immediately, like hefty fines and jail time. Others can last a few years or longer, and not all of them are necessarily legal consequences a judge ordered.
Loss or Suspension of Your Driver’s License
You may be able to manage the loss of your driver’s license for up to six months when you get your first DUI conviction, but what about up to two years for your second offense, three for your third, and up to four for your fourth? If driving isn’t directly related to your employment, you may be able to keep your schedule at work if you can successfully apply for a restricted license.
A restricted license will let you drive to and from work or school for as long as you are employed or attending classes, but that’s it. No other reasons – including non-work-related errands or commutes – may be covered by your restricted license, and you may be arrested again and face a whole new set of charges.
The other two options are to get rides from friends and family or rideshare services. Opting for your former, however, makes you dependent upon someone else’s schedule and goodwill. The latter option, hiring a taxi or rideshare service, can probably be done any time you need it – but it will also quickly drain your financial resources if you need to rely on it.
Ignition Interlock Device Requirements
You may be required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed on your vehicle. This is a system that prevents your car from starting unless you blow into it. If it doesn’t detect alcohol in your system, your car will start.
If you’re convicted of your first DUI, you can expect one of these to be installed in your car for up to six months. Repeat offenders or those whose offenses caused an injury can expect to have IIDs in place for 12-48 months.
While a relatively minor consequence, the reality is that many find having an IID installed on their vehicle embarrassing and even shameful. Its presence can also make any passengers feel wary about your driving, even if your DUI is the only blemish on your driving record.
How Your Current Employment May Be Impacted
California is an at-will employment state, which means your employer can fire you for any reason or none at all as long as the termination isn’t based on discrimination or retaliation for whistleblowing. Getting convicted of a DUI falls into neither of these categories, which means your employer could be legally protected for terminating you if you are found guilty in a DUI case.
A silver lining in this is that your employer cannot fire you for simply getting arrested for a DUI or if a verdict found you not guilty. That said, missing work to meet with your attorney or attend court dates could again put your employment in jeopardy. Your performance at work can also falter now that your mental bandwidth is being taxed by the stress of an ongoing legal situation that can forever alter your life.
Not only that, but if driving for work is key to your role – as it is for a courier, caterer, salesperson, etc. – your employer is within their rights to terminate you, even if you get a restricted license to perform your job. You may be deemed too risky by your employer or the companies used to ensure their fleet of vehicles, which can result in termination.
If your job is public-facing (such as that of a CEO or public relations representative) or places you in certain positions of trust (like someone who works with children), your employer may also be inclined to terminate you.
Finding a Job after a DUI Will Be Difficult
A DUI conviction can limit your future job prospects. It may preclude you from any positions that involve driving as part of your duties. Your conviction will also show up on background checks, putting you at an immediate disadvantage when you’re in the running for a new job. If your license is still under suspension, the prospective employer may have doubts about your ability to reliably report to work on time, even if you have a restricted license.
Your Car Insurance Will Skyrocket
Your car insurance is probably the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to consider the financial impact it will have on your life. Auto insurers are inclined to argue that DUI is an intentional act, and because you acted intentionally to cause an accident, you are not entitled to coverage.
When your insurer argues that you acted intentionally, it may refuse to cover any damages resulting from a DUI accident – including damage to someone else’s property or worse, their medical and funerary bills. That places you, personally, on the hook for such costs. Even worse, death or injury awards from a DUI civil lawsuit are non-dischargeable, meaning that not even bankruptcy will absolve you from these debts.
After a DUI accident, you can expect your current insurer to drop you from coverage, leaving you uninsured. To make matters worse, finding a new car insurance provider after a DUI will be difficult, and any that are willing to offer you a new policy may do so at incredibly high costs.
Other Long-Term Consequences
Beyond the aforementioned consequences, there are others that require less explanation. These include:
- Prison time for DUIs that cause serious injury or death
- Emotionally dealing with being responsible for serious injury or death
- Damage to your reputation that results in loss of friendships or professional relationships
- Strained relationships in your family over your DUI and its consequences
- Other domestic consequences like divorce or loss of custody over children
An Attorney Can Help You Mitigate These Consequences
Chances are, you didn’t feel good about the possibility of facing any of these long-term consequences of a DUI. The good news is that none of them is a foregone conclusion if you have effective legal counsel in your corner.
A skilled DUI attorney can help you fight your charges to reduce them, dismiss them outright, or mitigate the penalties you’ll face as a result of a conviction. At the Law Offices of Virginia Landry, Inc., our DUI Queen has more than 30 years of experience helping clients contest their DUI charges. We offer clients a chance at successfully fighting their charges by providing thoughtful legal counsel and aggressive defense of their rights in court.
If you’re interested in what a skilled DUI attorney can do for you, contact the Law Offices of Virginia Landry, Inc. office online or call (949) 537-2202 for help.