In the United States, drunk driving is one of the most commonly charged and convicted offenses. Often referred to as a “DUI” or “OWI,” the crime can wreak havoc on your life. You may incur fines, penalties from your insurance carrier, and possibly jail time. However, a DUI’s ramifications continue beyond the short-term and immediate burden of handling your matter in court.
Depending on the charge and conviction, the court may decide to:
- Suspend or revoke your driver’s license;
- Implement fines, fees, and other costs;
- Impose community service;
- Require you to participate in court-mandated education, rehabilitation, and/or addition programs; and/or
- Send you to jail
Even after all of these consequences have seemed to stop, there may be more. You’re facing a conviction that could haunt you for years.
A DUI conviction can have long-term impacts on various areas, including, but not limited to:
- Insurance: In Michigan, insurers use the driver’s license point system as a way to determine the risk you may pose to them as an insured. This drastically affects the premium you pay for insurance coverage. An OWI/DUI could result in your insurance carrier substantially increasing your monthly premiums or canceling your policy.
- Background checks: Many employers use criminal background checks during their employment screening processes. Most DUI’s stay on states’ criminal record systems for life. This can substantially limit your employment opportunities. Additionally, a DUI conviction can actually harm your credit line and your ability to borrow money. Background checks are now used during the application stage for automobile loans, mortgages, business loans, and student loans. Landlords can also run your criminal background to determine if they want to take you on as a renter.
- Professional Licensing: A criminal conviction, including one for an OWI/DUI, can result in your professional license being revoked, suspended, or denied. It may also warrant disciplinary action. Licensing entities, such as healthcare professionals, financial brokers, and real estate agents, can use an OWI as a basis to decide and determine your professional judgment, character, and ethics. This is especially pertinent if your job depends on your driving a company vehicle or maintain a CPL license. You could lose your job as well as your license.
These are just some some of the general consequences of a drunk driving conviction. Each case is different based on your background, lifestyle, future aspirations, and profession.
Get Legal Help for Your Case
Drunk driving laws are complex and challenging to get through on your own. Before considering skipping the cost of legal representation during an already expensive time, take a moment to understand the impacts of not having a lawyer help you navigate the court system. The best way to defend yourself, your job, and your livelihood is to contact an experienced and professional attorney.
At Tanis Schultz we stand up for those accused of drunk driving. If you’ve been charged in Grand Rapids or the surrounding areas, call us at (616) 608-7149 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.