DUIs: The Long-Term Consequences of Drunk Driving
A surprising number of people who would never dream of committing a crime like robbing a bank or assaulting someone would still willingly commit the crime of crawling behind the wheel of a vehicle while drunk.
In fact, driving under the influence (DUI) is the most common criminal offense in the United States. Many otherwise law-abiding citizens have been busted for this heinous crime and have found their lives suddenly turned upside down.
In the short term, you have to deal with temporary suspension of your driver’s license, fines, court and lawyer fees, community service, participation in drunk driving education programs and potential jail time.
But that’s just the short term effects. You will likely have all your fines paid, your education programs completed and your community service or jail time out of the way within a year or so but that DUI and the stigma it brings (and it brings a whole lot of negative stigma with it) will continue to haunt you for years to come.
Long-term consequences of a DUI conviction:
- Potential Revocation of Your Driver’s License – You may be able to deal with your license being suspended for a short time — depending on others for rides or taking public transit — but would you be able to handle doing that long-term? A DUI conviction can get your driver’s license revoked for up to two years for your first conviction. That means possibly having to find a new way to get to work, or worse, if your job involves driving, it could mean the loss of you job altogether.
How dependent are you on your vehicle? Because learning to cope with the lack of freedom to be able to drive anywhere when you need to will be stressful. Running small errands will suddenly become big chores and figuring out how to get around without your vehicle is going to be frustrating. People who are used to driving rarely make the transition to non-driving easily.
- Background Checks – That DUI conviction isn’t just going to disappear. It’s there permanently for anyone who conducts a background check on you to see. And who conducts background checks? Most employers, officials in charge of college financial aid applications and admissions processes, officials in charge of housing applications and landlords all frequently conduct background checks on the people who come to them wanting something. That DUI conviction could cost you the job, the student loan or the place you want.
- Employment – How open is your boss to accommodating your schedule while you deal with your DUI? Court dates, jail time and community service hours usually aren’t negotiable. It’s up to you to arrange your schedule around your punishment, which will probably play havoc with your current work schedule, putting your job at risk.
People looking for work will have given themselves a severe handicap in comparison to other job seekers who have clean criminal records. Employers are highly reluctant to hire applicants who have DUI convictions (If you can’t even handle the simple decision of whether or not to drive while you’re drunk, how are you going to handle any decisions at work?). Even if your DUI conviction has nothing to do with the job you are applying for, it will hinder your prospects, and will probably (officially or unofficially) disqualify you outright for a position. And jobs that require driving a company vehicle are basically going to be closed to you.
- Auto Insurance Rates – Have you ever watched a rocket launch into the sky? Imagine that rocket is your insurance premiums, because that’s what is going to happen to them if you get a DUI conviction. You will be considered a “high-risk” driver by insurance companies and your insurance rates may double or triple for several years. Some insurance companies may terminate your coverage outright.
- Professional Relationships – A DUI charge alone can cause your co-workers and employer to see you in a more negative light. You can try to keep it low-key but DUI arrests and convictions are often reported in local media (often in an effort to shame the people who are arrested) and this will put a huge stain on your reputation. Your company’s policy on DUI convictions may even cause you to lose your job.
- Personal Relationships – A DUI arrest or conviction brings feelings of shame and embarrassment with it and you may start to feel judged by your friends and family, especially if they start avoiding you.
It may also put a bit of a spotlight on your behavior and those closest to you might start to worry that you have a drinking problem. You may start to feel irritated or resentful if they want to “pry” into your personal life and discuss your drinking or DUI. (This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you do, in fact, have a drinking problem).
- Scholarship Programs – Many schools won’t accept students who have DUI convictions on their records and you may be denied any scholarships that you apply for because of it or, if you already have a scholarship lined up, you might have to kiss it goodbye.
So if you need even more reasons to avoid drinking and driving, give some consideration to the long-term consequences and how those would affect your life.
DUIs: The Long-Term Consequences of Drunk Driving
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