Accusations of driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to serious criminal consequences which will vary depending on the jurisdiction in which you get arrested. For many people, avoiding criminal consequences such as jail time is typically the most pressing concern when dealing with DUI charges.
Many people accused of DUI offenses choose to plead guilty because they hope that doing so will reduce their likelihood of serving jail time. However, there are a number of secondary consequences that usually follow a DUI charge that should give you pause before you decide to plead guilty to a pending criminal charge that could have a longer reach than you imagine.
DUIs often leave you unable to drive
Conviction of impaired driving carries with it mandatory license suspensions, the length of which will vary depending both on jurisdiction and on the previous criminal and driving record of the individual charged with a DUI.
Although it is possible for some people to request limited licenses during their suspension if the total loss of their license would present a hardship for them or their families, a limited license usually requires the installation of an ignition interlock system which is both expensive and socially embarrassing.
A criminal record will affect your career and education
Background checks have become a ubiquitous part of the American employment landscape. They also play a role in college admissions, financial aid, housing and even volunteer opportunities. Once you get convicted of a criminal offense, you will always have a record that might prevent you from the best jobs, admission into a continuing education program or even certain rental opportunities.
Drunk driving charges can cause lasting social issues
Even though it may have just been a mistake or misunderstanding that led to your DUI charge, most of the people in your life won’t know that. Everyone from your coworkers to your neighbors could eventually find out about your arrest and conviction, which could impact how they treat you and how much they trust you.
From no longer getting invited to parties where people serve alcohol to having friends refuse to ride in your vehicle when you drive, there can be many embarrassing and stressful social consequences attached to a DUI. These secondary consequences are compelling reasons to consider fighting a DUI charge instead of pleading guilty.