Criminal convictions come with consequences. In most criminal cases, including Driving while Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, there are several direct consequences that come from the court at the time of sentencing. Once a defendant enters a plea of guilty to a DUI, or is found guilty of DUI by a judge or jury, the court typically imposes the following consequences.
- Educational programming
- Chemical use assessment
- Community service
- Jail time
- Prison time
The term “collateral consequences” refers to other consequences for a DUI plea or verdict after a trial. There are a variety of collateral consequences one may experience after a DUI conviction.
The Potential to Lose One's Professional License
For professions where a license is required, there is typically a licensing board that governs who may apply for, obtain, and retain licensure for the profession. Each licensing board has its own rules about the steps required for obtaining and retaining a license after a DUI conviction. Typically, the board will require proof the person has obtained a chemical use assessment and followed the recommendations of that assessment. This, of course, will be required as part of the criminal sentence, so this is not generally considered too onerous. However, the board may also require affirmative proof that the person is able to perform their job “with reasonable skill and safety,” or some similar standard. In many professions, a licensing board has the option of sanctioning a license holder who is convicted of a DUI. Sanctions could include
- permanent revocation of one's professional license,
- temporary revocation of one's professional license,
- suspension of one's license,
- probationary terms and conditions,
- a public reprimand, and
- a private reprimand.
Pilots, doctors, and nurses are just a few of the professionals who may have to answer to a licensing board after a DUI charge or conviction.
Difficulty Getting into College
About half of all college admissions committees consider criminal convictions when evaluating potential students who have applied for admission. A single DUI will not prevent you from getting a college degree. However, some schools may be hesitant to admit a student with one or more DUI convictions. Colleges may consider the length of time since the conviction, whether the student was underage at the time of the conviction, and other factors. They may require proof of a chemical use assessment and completion of any recommended programming or other probationary measures.
Difficulty Paying for College
The government offers financial aid to assist people in paying for college. However, they limit the amount and types of financial aid available to those who have been convicted of drug-related offenses. If your DUI is the result of being under the influence of illegal drugs or inhalants, you may not qualify for federal student loan aid, at least temporarily. A drug-related DUI conviction may not be a complete bar to receiving federal student aid, but it can complicate things.
Challenges Getting or Keeping a Job
A DUI conviction is, by definition, a criminal conviction. Many employers ask if applicants have ever been convicted of a crime. While a DUI conviction is not a complete bar to employment, it can make finding a job more difficult.
Additionally, some employees have a security clearance. A criminal conviction could impact the employee's ability to maintain the security clearance. Obviously, this could impact a person's ability to remain employed. If they can't do their job due to their criminal conviction, their employer may terminate their employment.
Still, other employers have other policies that may impact one's ability to maintain employment after a conviction. For example, some countries subject those with DUI convictions with higher scrutiny when determining whether to grant admission into their country. If your job requires regular travel to Canada, for example, a DUI conviction may make this travel much more difficult, if not impossible. This could result in losing your job.
Increased Rates for Car Insurance
DUI convictions result in increased insurance premiums for an extended period of time. Those convicted of a DUI can expect to pay three to five times as high a premium as those who have not been convicted of a DUI. Depending on the insurance company, your age, prior convictions, and other factors, you can expect to pay higher insurance rates for at least three and as many as seven years.
Difficulty Getting from One Place to Another
A DUI conviction will result in the loss of your driving privileges. This can impact your ability to get to work, school, or other places you would typically go without giving it a thought. Additionally, in order to regain the privilege to drive, you must pay a considerable reinstatement fee and jump through other hoops.
Difficulty Renting an Apartment
Landlords typically run record checks on applicants for apartments and housing rentals. A DUI conviction may make you a less attractive tenant than someone who does not have a DUI conviction. Of course, a series of DUI convictions makes one even more unattractive as a potential tenant. A felony DUI conviction could result in even more difficulty finding a place to live.
Are You Facing DUI Charges?
If you are facing DUI charges, you need an attorney who will leave no stone unturned. From challenging the stop of your car to the length of your detention, as well as the sufficiency of your test results, our Alpharetta and Roswell DUI attorneys know how to litigate DUI cases. Our specialized focus allows our team to stay abreast of the relevant case law and the best ways to attack the science behind DUI. Contact us today to discuss your DUI case.