Most people are aware of the immediate effects of a DUI/DWI conviction: a suspended driver’s license, jail time, fines, probation, alcohol and drug classes and the installation of an ignition interlock device or alcohol home monitoring unit. Many people, however, do not consider the below long-term effects of getting a DUI.
Keeping Your Job
If your job involves driving, you may find yourself unemployed when your employer sees your clean driving record tarnished.
Getting a Job
Your permanent criminal record could also affect future employment. Even a first time DUI offense by someone with no other criminal record can have a huge impact on your future ability to obtain certain jobs. Employers are increasingly conducting criminal background checks before hiring an employee, so prospective employers may discover your DUI. This can be embarrassing and may play a factor in a potential employer’s hiring decision.
A DUI conviction may make it difficult to get into college if you are considering applying.
Also, many occupations that involve professional or state licensing or certification may disqualify a potential job applicant. Occupations that include state licensing or certifications include drivers, teachers, doctors and attorneys.
Getting a DUI usually results in a suspension of your driver’s license. In order to reinstate your license you will have to show proof that you have a car insurance policy which satisfies your state’s minimum coverage. In many states, drivers are required to maintain a special type of expensive insurance after being convicted of DUI called SR22. In addition, not all insurance companies offer SR22 so it is likely you would need to shop for a new provider.
As a result of a DUI, you may also be classified as a high-risk driver. This means your current insurance company may cancel your policy or require you to pay additional fees for a new policy. For example, many companies charge convicted DUI offenders two to three times more for coverage—and in many cases, it will be years before your rates will be reduced.
Your Personal Life
You may have to deal with upset spouses, family members and friends. They may lose some trust in your ability to be responsible and make smart decisions. It can be an emotional rollercoaster of embarrassment and uncertainty.
A DUI conviction can affect the way that people view you. Regardless of your circumstances, some people may assume you have a drinking problem.
Your Criminal Background Check
In many states a DUI conviction with factors such a prior DUI/DWI conviction, high-level blood alcohol content (BAC), child endangerment, property damage, or bodily injury may be considered a felony. That felony will permanently stay on your criminal record. Even if your DUI conviction is a misdemeanor, many states will not allow them to be expunged, regardless of how much time has passed since the conviction. As you’ve already read, employers doing a background check will find out you’ve been convicted of a DUI. You may not know that many volunteer organizations and potential landlords also run background checks and will be able to see your conviction.
The Effects of a Felony
If your DUI conviction is a felony, you may lose several personal liberties, such as your right to vote, purchase a firearm and obtain a passport. You may also be ineligible for any future government assistance, including federal housing; and, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you may face deportation.
The best way to avoid the above long-term effects of a DUI is to not drink and drive. If you have already been arrested for a DUI, contact an attorney to understand your rights and the laws in your state.