A DUI Conviction Never Blows Over
You might think you know the consequences of a DUI conviction. The anti-drunk-driving ads usually lay out the basics: an arrest for driving under the influence can lead to fines, jail time, and loss of license. Many states mandate an ignition interlock on your vehicle, even for a first DUI offense. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.
Except you can’t. If the judge pronounces you guilty, there are a lot more changes to your life that you need to deal with, ones that can have an effect long after the jail time is over, the interlock is removed, and the fine is paid.
Insurance Costs Skyrocket. There is no way to escape a rise in car insurance after a DUI. Expect to pay an extra $1100 a year, or more. For how long? That depends on how many years your state keeps DUIs on record. It can be three years, or ten. So chances are you’ll part with thousands. Your health insurance will cost more, if you don’t get denied a policy. And your life insurance rate will also go up.
Travel Restrictions. Some countries don’t allow anyone with a DUI into the country; Canada and the UK are examples, as are China and Japan. So you’ll have to check before you go abroad on vacation, to see if you’re welcome in that country. And it won’t be possible to rent a car while traveling either.
Employment hassles. If your work requires access to vehicles, you’re in trouble. If you’re in the military, you could be discharged. Are you a scoutmaster? Teacher? Anyone who works with kids? You might not have that option anymore. If you own a franchise, the main office might have a clause excluding you from your contract. Many businesses, (car insurance, pharmaceuticals, law enforcement) will terminate you because of their own rules or because their insurance company demands it.
Education hassles. You can lose scholarships if you have a DUI.
Loan difficulties. Ever notice how, on loan applications, you’re asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony? You’ll have to answer “Yes” now. And you will probably pay a higher interest rate.
More hassles. Think of another place you’ve seen that question about felony conviction: on a lease. If you’re renting an apartment, you might not be able to choose where to live. A lot of landlords can afford to be choosy. A lot of professional certifications (as a nurse or therapist for example) will be out of bounds. Your credit score will go down. And anyone who Googles you (friend, prospective employer, prospective spouse) might find your mug shot.
It’s something to think about when you’ve had that last drink and you’re contemplating whether to call a taxi or risk a drive home. A DUI never blows over.