Getting a DUI has lasting negative effects on everyone involved. Many individuals who drive under the influence do so mistakenly, thinking they’re fine to drive. However, they quickly realize the serious implications of this mistake when they get pulled over.
Here are some of the ways that a DUI can change your life.
Arrest and Detention
If you get pulled over for a DUI and the breathalyzer or field sobriety test shows that you are over the legal drinking limit, you will get arrested. Not only is the experience of being arrested humiliating, you may also spend time in jail.
Fines and Legal Fees
When you get a DUI, you could face a steep monetary penalty. While the fines vary from region to region, minimum fines can start at $1,000. In some areas, it could be double or even triple that amount. Additionally, you may have to pay bail if you are arrested.
Depending on your location, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In some states, this is a requirement for even first-time offenders. The cost of these devices are your responsibility, and can cost thousands of dollars over time.
If you are charged with a DUI, you will need to hire a lawyer. According to the legal team at Yeargan & Kert, LLC, most DUIs are charged initially as misdemeanors. However, if you have multiple convictions, or if someone else gets hurt, you can be charged with a felony. The penalties for a DUI get exponentially more severe with each subsequent conviction.
Hiring a lawyer to help you face these charges comes at a cost. Hiring a great lawyer may help save you financially in the long run, the short-term costs of a legal time can be a surprising financial burden for many people.
Increased Insurance Rates
If you are convicted of a DUI, your insurance rates will likely increase substantially. Some individuals have seen an increase in annual auto insurance premiums of up to 125 percent over a DUI conviction. Furthermore, if you have access to someone else’s vehicle, your spouse, for example, their rates could increase as well.
In some locations, insurance rates can remain at the higher rate for up to 10 years following the DUI conviction.
Loss of Freedom
Going to prison isn’t the only loss of freedom you may experience after a DUI. If you are convicted or don’t appeal your charges within the statute of limitations, you could lose your license for a minimum of one year. After multiple offences, you may lose your license permanently.
Furthermore, if your DUI is charged as a felony, you won’t be able to cross international borders until the charges are cleared. Some countries are even wary of those with misdemeanor charges on their record.
Getting a DUI can permanently damage relationships with loved ones in your life. The repercussions of a DUI can cause the breakdown of a marriage and deter family members and friends from continuing their interactions with you. If you had children in the car at the time of the incident, you could face custody issues as well, as it relates to safely caring for them.
If your incident resulted in the injury or death of someone else, the consequences are even more unforgiving. More than 10,000 people die every year in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents. These deaths were completely preventable if the choice had been made to not drink and drive.
You Could Lose Your Job
Finally, getting charged with a DUI can cost you your job and severely limit future employment prospects, even if you do not receive a conviction. Losing your license, and thus your ability to meet travel expectations or drive to work, can also cost you your job. Some businesses have clauses in the work contract pertaining to how your actions portray the company. If your contract has the right wording, they may be able to terminate you without severance.
The True Cost of a DUI
The true cost of getting a DUI is immeasurable. Consider all of the ramifications of your decision to drive under the influence, and find another way home. Even if you have only had a drink or two, the cost of a cab is nothing in comparison to the true cost of a DUI.