DUI is one of the most common criminal convictions in the United States, and DUIs can follow you around for months to years following a conviction. Many accused of DUI assume that their otherwise clean driving record will gain them leniency by their local court and moot their need for a professional attorney. It doesn’t. While driving and criminal history are often considered by courts, even model citizens face a plethora of potential life-altering consequences just from accusation, much less conviction.
DUI Consequences Aren’t Just In The Here And Now
You likely understand that a DUI can wreak havoc on your personal finances as you incur fines, penalties, and even possible jail time. It’s such immediate costs that most people focus on when they’ve been accused of a DUI. However, a DUI’s ramifications often go far beyond a short-term, one-time, immediate financial burden. They also easily bleed into multiple facets of your personal and professional life beyond just finances.
Short-Term DUI Consequences
If proven guilty of a misdemeanor or felony DUI, the court may decide to include any to all of the following as part of your sentence:
- Temporary suspension of your driver’s license.
- Driver’s license revocation.
- Fees and fines in accordance with state and local laws.
- Community service hours
- Participation in court-mandated drunk driving education courses.
- Participation in a court-mandated rehabilitation/addiction programs.
- Possible sentencing for jail time.
As severe as these may seem, the consequences don’t stop at what happens in the first few weeks or months following a DUI conviction. Before considering skipping the cost of legal counsel during an already expensive time, you should realize that the consequences of not having professional legal representation to help you mitigate DUI consequences can haunt you for a very long time.
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1. Driving Record
Depending on what state you live in, the DUI will stay on your driving record for anywhere from a year to indefinitely. With most states using a point system to track your driving, that’s a long time to automatically be at the high end of the point system because of the DUI. Smaller subsequent infractions, such as a speeding ticket, can then easily put you over the point threshold for license suspension years after the DUI occurred.
In Michigan, for example, a DUI stays on your driving record for seven years and puts an automatic six points on your driver’s license for two years. This means that you’ll be halfway to Michigan’s 12-point driver’s license suspension threshold for two years.
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2. Driver’s License
DUI convictions, even first offenses, usually result in at least a temporary suspension of your driver’s license. In many states, your license is actually revoked for up to two years. This is a challenge for anyone to get themselves to and from places at-will, but it’s particularly expensive and daunting for those with children, long work commutes, uncertain and on-call work hours, and personal medical risks that require access to immediate transportation.
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3. Higher Insurance
In most states, including Michigan, vehicle insurers use the driver’s license point system as a risk consideration in insuring you and as a major influencer for the premium you’ll pay for the coverage.
Insurers typically examine the last five years of your driving record anytime they issue or renew a policy. A DUI conviction could result in an insurer canceling your policy, but it will almost always at least significantly raise your monthly premiums by hundreds to thousands of dollars per term.
4. Background Checks: Employment, Loans, Housing
You likely already understand that most employers utilize criminal background checks as part of their pre-employment screening and that any employment entity dealing with security, cash, or vulnerable populations is required to run a criminal background check prior to hiring. Without your attorney getting the DUI charge dropped, reduced, deferred, expunged, or sealed, DUIs stay on most state’s criminal record systems for life. Of course, this limits your employment opportunities significantly.
A lesser-known issue for DUI convictions is how they may harm your credit line and ability to borrow money. Many lenders are now using criminal background checks as part of their equation in deciding to issue you automobile loans, mortgages, business loans, student loans and so forth.
Landlords and housing authorities may also run criminal background checks in deciding if and for how much they’re willing to take on a renter. A DUI conviction may greatly influence where and by whom you’re housed, which is a consequence that can disastrous for your mobility abilities, especially when you consider you may do without a driver’s license, too.
5. Professional Licensing
A felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction can revoke, suspend, deny, or warrant disciplinary actions toward your professional license. Licensing entities, such as those for licensed healthcare professionals, financial brokers, and real estate agents, can use a DUI conviction as a basis to determine your professional judgment, ethics, and character.
Professional licensing issues are murky waters best traversed with an Okemos Criminal Defense Attorney helping you understand your rights, responsibilities, and possible defenses. Otherwise, you can easily find yourself without a license and unable to legally practice your profession.
Of course, if your job hinges upon you driving a company vehicle or maintaining a special class driver’s license, then you may be fired from your job because you’re unable to fulfill the role.
6. Professional/ Academic Relationships And Reputation
Whether you’re self-employed or work for someone else, your professional reputation is a huge success factor. Peers, customers, coworkers, employers/employees, and vendors alike may consider your DUI as something they don’t want to associate their brand with, which isn’t good for your career or business. You’re also likely to miss a lot of appointments due to mobility issues and the fulfillment of court-ordered mandates.
When it comes time for promotions, your employer may dismiss you as a candidate.
The same goes for students. Many colleges, universities, student housing programs, student financial aid programs, and student scholarship programs do not accept students with DUI convictions and will suspend students upon receiving one.
Keep in mind that even volunteer positions and programs are often required to run a criminal background check, particularly in the health care context. This means you may lose a personally fulfilling or academically/professionally/legally required volunteer position.
7. Personal Relationships
Last, but certainly not least, are the impacts within personal relationships. Getting a DUI can sever or strain strong ties with spouses, children, friends, and extended family.
Even once you get your license back, others may not entrust you with/as passengers. Others may feel awkward asking you to social events with alcohol present.
Also keep in mind that others may judge, punish your loved ones for your DUI conviction. Parents of your children’s friends, for example, may no longer allow their kids in your home.
You may feel great shame, regret, and sadness over the financial, mobility, and so forth burden that your loved ones are having to suffer for or accommodate. You may also feel irritated and resentful as those loved ones try to prevent another DUI or micromanage your activities.
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Of course, these are just some general short-term and long-term consequences of a DUI. Your unique individual lifestyle, profession, relationships, and future aspirations can always extend the list. The absolute best way to be as untouched by the potentially life-altering repercussions of a DUI accusation is to secure a professional, experienced Okemos Criminal Defense Attorney
DUI laws are as complex as they are consequential. At White Law PLLC our goal is to help our clients understand their rights and obligations and ultimately avoid the costly personal, professional, and legal consequences of being accused of a DUI.
Contact us today (517) 316-1195 to discuss your case with one of our experienced, professional DUI attorneys.
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