While most people know the dangers of driving under the influence, it remains a significant problem. More than 10,000 people are killed in traffic crashes involving drunk drivers, and an estimated 1.4 million people are arrested in a given year for driving under the influence.
Some of the most conscientious drivers with clean records have been charged with a DUI conviction and found themselves in a downward spiral. Court appearances, fines, higher insurance premiums are just a few of the consequences associated with a DUI charge. Beyond the criminal penalties, a DUI conviction can impact someone socially and financially.
Arizona law states that all DUI convictions, no matter how minor, require the court to impose mandatory minimum penalties that require jail time, high fines, and counseling.
Jail time: Someone who is a first time offender may be surprised to find out that jail terms are mandatory. The court may suspend all but one day if the defendant agrees to complete a court-ordered substance abuse program, but it’s jail time nonetheless.
Fines: The mandatory minimum fine is $1,500, not including jail and other court fees. This penalty can change depending on circumstances. For example, if someone was injured or property was damaged, the fines can be increased.
Driver’s license suspension: Your sentence will include the revocation of driving privileges, which can be up to an entire year for your first conviction.
Substance abuse counseling: Most jurisdictions require people to complete an alcohol and drug education program to get their driver’s license back. These classes are another expense added to the bottom line.
Installation of interlock devices: Many states are now requiring convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices. Similar to a breathalyzer, these are attached to the car’s ignition system. The car will not start unless someone blows into the tube with an alcohol-free breath. Again, these are an additional expense that can be very costly.
A DUI conviction will come with criminal implications, but it can also have long-term consequences that negatively affect you. There are social stigmas associated with driving under the influence that can hurt opportunities and relationships.
Background checks: A DUI conviction can affect your ability to secure employment. Most jobs conduct criminal background checks before hiring, and a felony or misdemeanor DUI conviction will appear. This can also impact housing applications and jeopardize your chances of getting the place that you want if a landlord conducted a background check.
Education and scholarships: Similarly, your educational career may be negatively impacted. Some institutions require a clean record and a DUI conviction could hurt your chances of financial aid and the admissions process.
Relationships: A DUI arrest can also hurt both professional and personal relationships. Even if you keep it under wraps from your coworkers and boss, court appearances, jail time, and community service hours could impact your job performance. You may also be concerned about how friends and family perceive you.
A DUI charge can be financially devastating. You could incur thousands of dollars trying to pay fines and fees, but there are additional expenses that aren’t as obvious.
Increased insurance premiums: Following a DUI conviction, your car insurance will likely increase because you are deemed as a “high-risk” driver. It can even double or triple your premiums.
Alternate transportation: Many people will have to find an alternative mode of transportation during the process and while their license has been revoked. Some may turn to Uber and Lyft or buses, which can add up.
When you are facing a DUI conviction, you must have a strong legal advocate by your side. At Oliverson Law PLLC, our one goal in mind is to win your case. Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience and knowledge that you need during these difficult times.
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