Long-Term DUI Consequences
Did you know that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) is the number one most common criminal offense that exists in the United States? There are hundreds – maybe thousands – of normally smart, careful drivers who get arrested for DUI and suddenly find themselves involved in a downward spiral that can be incredibly difficult to get out of.
The legal, personal, and business effects of being convicted of DUI are enormous, and can go on for years after the conviction. The short-term consequences are well-known: driver’s license suspension, fines, fees, higher insurance premiums, community service, driver education classes, and jail time. These are the most common punishments for a DUI conviction.
However, the long-term effects of a DUI can be devastating in ways that might surprise you. Long after the fees and fines are paid, and you’ve satisfied all of the legal obligations of a DUI conviction, you’ll find that the effects of having this conviction on your record negatively changes many things for you, your family, and your future.
Here are a few ways that the consequences of a DUI conviction can affect your life in the long-term:
Driver’s License Revocation
Even if you have never been convicted of a DUI or similar charge before, your driver’s license can be revoked for up to two years. If you can’t use your vehicle to get to work, you have to try to ride with others, take public transportation, or if no other option is available, you may lose your job. Imagine the stress of having to rely on others to take you anywhere you may need to go – work, grocery shopping, errands, gym, restaurants. And of course, you’ll also be at the mercy of their schedules, which can make you late as well.
It is common for employers to have a criminal background check performed before you are hired. Any felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction is sure to show up on a background check, and may cost you the potential job. Other common situations where a background check would occur include financial aid applications for schooling, college admissions, and rental applications. To a potential landlord, a DUI conviction might make you appear to be a less-than-ideal choice, and the conviction on your record may cost you a great place to live.
The process of being convicted of a DUI may result in serving jail time, appearing in court, performing community service or completing driver education hours. Completing those obligations will take time away from work as they won’t necessarily take place after your workday ends. The court and third party service providers will not work around your job hours, and therefore, you may be a hindrance to the company you work for.
When applying for a new job, prepare to reveal your conviction on the application. Many employers simply will not hire a prospect with any conviction. Even if it has nothing at all to do with the job you are applying for. And if your job requires driving, you may simply not qualify due to your conviction and driver license suspension.
There is no doubt that your auto insurance rates will significantly increase after your conviction, because you are now considered a “high risk” driver by the insurance company. Insurance premiums that are double or even triple what you’re used to paying will be normal for at least a few years. If you’re very lucky, your insurance company will only raise your rates. Many insurance companies will terminate your coverage, and you may have trouble finding new auto insurance coverage.
Your professional and personal relationships will definitely change after your DUI conviction. You will be viewed differently by people in your community, as well as employers, colleagues, friends and family.
- Professional – After your DUI arrest, word will get out. Your co-workers will know, your boss will know, and they are going to perceive you differently because of it. Your reputation will be tarnished, and if your company has a policy regarding DUI convictions, you could permanently lose your job.
- Personal – The shame and embarrassment you feel after your conviction will be reflected by how your friends and family now feel about you. And you will likely now have to rely on them for rides anywhere you need to go. This places a huge stress on these relationships. If you lose your job and cannot provide for your family, you will be under enormous financial strain. The stress from these situations can cause important relationships to fall apart, and become irreparable. Romantic relationships suffer especially severe stress.
If you are receiving a college scholarship, you can kiss it goodbye after a DUI conviction. You may still be allowed entry into the college, but it’s also possible that they will deny your application based on your conviction. They will do a background check and that’s how they’ll find out about the conviction.
Many countries will not allow someone convicted of a crime to enter their borders. This depends on the crime committed, and the country in question.
If you’ve been convicted of a DUI felony that caused serious injury or death, this may very well be a situation where you will not be allowed to travel to the country in question.
If you are requesting a visa to live and work in another country, you may be asked to present a “certificate of good conduct” or a “lack of a criminal record” document.
The first thing you should do if you want to travel abroad is check with the U.S. Embassy of that country to become familiar with their limitations, laws and rules, and to try to become pre-cleared for travel to that country.
For Instance, if you are traveling to Canada, you will have an especially difficult time. Canada has the most restrictive policies regarding DUI convictions in regard to travel into their country. You must obtain a waiver of exclusion from Canadian authorities before you will be able to cross the border into Canada. That can take weeks or months to obtain.