Unexpected Ways a DUI Can Impact One’s Life

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A person who is pulled over and charged with drunk driving (DUI/DWI) will suffer many consequences. Plenty of drivers are aware of some of these consequences, such as a suspended license, jail time, and massive auto insurance increases. These alone are a strong deterrent to getting behind the wheel drunk. But even if a person manages to maintain his/her license and avoid jail time, there are myriad other ways that a DUI can impact one’s life. Below are some of the more unexpected consequences of a DUI conviction.

Education. Many college and university applications will ask whether a person has been convicted of a crime. If the state where the conviction occurs considers DUI a crime, a person will have to answer, “Yes.” Likewise, a DUI can cost a person scholarships or other forms of financial aid, which would make obtaining or completing a degree more difficult.

Job/employment. There are several ways a DUI can impact one’s job. One is that many businesses may opt to terminate an employee with a DUI. Another is that it can limit job options in the future. It may seem obvious that any position for which driving is an integral aspect of the job (e.g., delivery services, livery companies) may no longer be an option. But even those in which some limited driving may be expected, such as sales, real estate, or even some construction roles, could be out of reach. Depending on the state, a DUI conviction can result in a criminal record, in which case the offense will come up in a background check even for jobs that do not require any kind of driving responsibilities.

Professional licenses. Any profession that requires a state license—including attorneys, nurses, plumbers, electricians, etc.—could deny or revoke the license in response to a DUI. Even if the specific agency does not revoke the license, the person can still be terminated and/or have difficulty finding a job in his/her field as per the above.

Insurance rates (other than auto). In addition to impacting one’s car insurance, a DUI conviction can also affect life insurance premiums. After all, insurance companies operate on risk models. Driving while intoxicated carries a serious risk of death should it result in an accident. Also, life insurers could see the DUI as indicative of a drinking problem, which also carries a risk of early death. Similarly, one’s homeowner’s insurance may also raise rates in response to a DUI conviction. Simply put, in the eyes of insurers, a DUI is risky behavior that increases the risk of having to file a claim.

Family. A DUI can affect a person’s relationship with his/her family for many reasons. From a legal standpoint, some states will grant at-fault divorces in response to certain convictions, including DUIs. In addition, a DUI can affect how a judge determines custody of children in cases of divorce. A DUI can also bar one from adopting a child in the future, depending on state law.

Immigration status. A person living in the U.S. on a visa or green card can find themselves in jeopardy of deportation following a DUI conviction.

Travel and leisure. One of the least expected impacts of a DUI conviction can be on how one travels. Many countries will not admit individuals who have been convicted of a DUI or other offenses. One of the toughest is Canada, which can reject any American attempting to enter with a DUI conviction. Mexico has also been known to deny entry to those who have been convicted of felony-level DUI charges. Australia and New Zealand will only bar one from entering if the DUI conviction resulted in a sentence of more than one year. Meanwhile, China, Japan, and many Muslim-majority countries require that one disclose any DUI conviction, although this does not necessarily mean one will not be allowed to enter.

Financial hardship. A DUI conviction can be startlingly costly. Drivers are often charged hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars in fines. This does not include any civil liability, should the DUI incident result in an accident and subsequent lawsuit. Tack onto that the above-mentioned impact on scholarships/financial aid, employment, and insurance, and it’s easy to see how a DUI can result in serious financial hardship.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered legal advice.

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