Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can have life-changing consequences for you and your family. Even if you have not consumed much alcohol, if a police officer has probable cause, they can pull you over. Having a DUI conviction can have a huge impact on your life.
How a DUI Conviction Affects You
A DUI conviction can carry a number of consequences. Many of those are short-term in nature, such as having to pay fines and other fees, driver’s license suspension, auto insurance premiums increasing, court-ordered DUI classes and community service and jail time, in some cases.
However, there are even more ramifications you can face if you have a DUI conviction. For one thing, the conviction can follow you wherever you go in a variety of areas of your life. It’s important to know what these entail so that you can take positive steps to go on with your life after a DUI conviction. The long-term consequences include the following:
Driver’s license revocation
Depending on the circumstances, your driver’s license may be revoked for a short time, but it can be revoked for up to two years in the worst case scenario. This can make it difficult to travel to and from work or school an even run every day errands.
A DUI conviction can adversely affect your ability to get a job. Prospective employers often conduct background checks on individuals seeking employment, which means they may think twice about hiring you if you have a DUI conviction on your record, even if it’s a misdemeanor and not a felony. The same can occur if you are seeking housing or financial aid.
With a DUI conviction, your current job can be at risk. If you are required to attend court dates, perform community service or serve jail time, you cannot appear at work like normal, which can threaten your employment. If you have a job that requires you to drive, you may not be able to work at all.
Increased insurance rates
Your auto insurance premium rates can skyrocket after a DUI conviction. You are deemed high-risk by the insurer, which results in an increase that is twice or even three times higher. In some cases, the insurance company may even end your coverage.
Felony or Misdemeanor?
Usually, a DUI is charged as a misdemeanor if it is a first-time offense and no one was hurt. In Washington, the laws are fairly lax, but there are steps the state is taking to reduce drunk driving accidents. For example, in 2017, a bill was approved to make fourth DUI offenses charged as felonies. In other words, if a person drives drunk over three times in less than a decade and they are arrested, they are charged with a felony.
Bouncing Back After a Conviction
It may seem impossible to bounce back after a DUI conviction, but it’s possible. Taking things one step at a time makes it easier to recover. First, it’s important to avoid drinking. Staying sober is the key to recovering. You may want to join a group like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or at least one-on-one counseling. However, if you have a serious alcohol addiction problem, extensive detoxification and rehabilitation are more beneficial.
Attend all your court-ordered DUI classes. They can help to open your eyes to the dangers of driving while drunk. Don’t skip any classes.
Just like a drug addict, it’s important to learn to identify triggers that can lead to you drinking. This is something you can learn while attending addiction therapy sessions. If a trigger does strike, you can take a positive step against giving in to temptation by contacting a close friend who is part of your support system.
You may question your life’s choices after a DUI conviction, especially if you lose your job. However, as long as you are honest and are dedicated to your treatment, you can get a new job. Although the conviction will appear in background checks, you will survive if you lead an honest life and work to better yourself in the present and future.