Driving under the influence (DUI) or Driving while intoxicated are the most common criminal offense in Canada. Many conscientious drivers with otherwise clean records have been arrested for DUI and suddenly found their lives in a dizzying tailspin from which they could not pull out.
DUI convictions have major ramifications and some can linger for years. Most of us are aware of the short-term consequences, including temporary driver’s license suspension, fees and fines, high insurance premiums, court-mandated community service, participation in drunk driving education programs, and even jail time.
Unfortunately, the long-term shock waves from a DUI can cause the greatest pain. Even after you pay your fines and fulfill your legal obligations, your DUI conviction can still undermine your future opportunities and haunt your life for years. Learning how you might be affected by a DUI is important first step for protecting yourself, your family, and your future.
Even after you pay your fines and fulfill your legal obligations, your DUI conviction can still undermine your future opportunities and haunt your life for years.
Some long-term consequences of a DUI conviction include:
- Driver’s License Revocation – A DUI conviction can result in your driver’s license being revoked – up to two years for your first conviction. A DUI conviction makes it difficult to get to work or, if your position requires you to drive, may result in the loss of your job. Losing the freedom to drive your own car is also stressful. Without a license, running simple errands, enjoying family visits, and participating in familiar social activates will be challenging. You may also arrive late for work frequently, feel frustrated, and be less attentive when you finally get there. Your job performance may suffer, too.
- Background Checks – Most employers conduct criminal background checks before they hire job applicants. A felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction will appear in a background check and could thwart your best efforts to secure a job. Background checks may also triggered by college financial aid applications and admissions processes, and housing applications. Landlords often conduct background checks and a DUI conviction could jeopardize your chances of getting the place you want.
- Employment – Your current job may be also be affected by a DUI arrest and conviction. Court dates, jail time, and community service hours can wreak havoc on your work schedule and put your job at risk. In addition, job seekers may be at a severe disadvantage to other applicants if they have a DUI on their records. Many employers are uncomfortable hiring applicants who have DUI convictions. While your DUI conviction may not have anything to do with the job you are applying for, it could hinder your prospects, if not disqualify you outright. And jobs that require driving a company vehicle, such as sales, truck driving, pizza delivery, catering, or cab driving jobs, may be closed to you.
- Auto Insurance Rates – Following a DUI conviction, your automobile insurance rates will likely increase significantly because drivers who have been convicted of a DUI are considered “high-risk” drivers by insurance companies. Your insurance rates may double or triple for at least several years. Some insurance companies may even terminate your coverage.
- Professional Relationships – A DUI arrest, and not even a conviction, can adversely affect the way you are perceived by your coworkers and employer. Even if you try to keep it under wraps, your DUI arrest may be publicized by local media and permanently stain your reputation. Depending on your company’s policy pertaining to DUI convictions, you may even lose your job.
- Personal Relationships – Following a DUI arrest or conviction, you may worry about how your friends and family members feel about you, and you may experience feelings of shame and embarrassment. Initially, friends and family members may be very concerned about your wellbeing and be overly attentive to your behavior. You may become irritated or resentful if they want to “pry” into your personal life and discuss your drinking or DUI, even if you feel everything is under control.
- Scholarship Programs – Many schools do not accept students who have DUI convictions on their records and scholarships may be revoked or denied. Some colleges conduct background checks and require applicants to disclose any criminal history on their college applications.
A DUI arrest or conviction can have devastating repercussions for years afterward. They can be avoided by staying in touch with your alcohol level at all times. By staying informed of what your BAC is with a Professional Grade BAC track Breathalyzer, you can make smarter decisions while drinking. Never get in a vehicle if you have been drinking, and ensure others are at 0.00% BAC before attempting to use any heavy machinery.