One of the many perks of living in New York City is that if you don’t want to drive, you don’t have to. That means you don’t have to worry about buying a car, maintaining it, and parking it. It also means you won’t have the potential temptation to get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking.
If you do own a car and you drink and drive, the consequences and ramifications can be long-term.
A DUI is driving under the influence. The following are five of the major ways a DUI has the potential to affect your life.
1. Your License
If you get a DUI and convicted, you’re going to lose your license. This can affect you differently depending on how long you lose your driving privileges and whether or not you can feasibly use public transportation on a regular basis.
Sometimes, if the judge is extremely lenient, you might only lose your license for a few months. For other people, it can be years. There are typically two types of suspensions for your license that can stem from a DUI. The first is an administrative DUI suspension, which is triggered by your initial arrest. You might get an administrative DUI suspension if you refuse to take a test when you’re asked by an officer.
The second suspension is based on your actual conviction. The suspension period can overlap, so you don’t have to complete both back-to-back.
Under implied consent laws, all drivers who are arrested for driving under the influence are required to take a chemical test, usually breath or blood, when requested by an officer. If you refuse that, you will receive an administrative suspension from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
When you get a DUI, it significantly affects your finances. Some of the many things you might have to pay for following a DUI include:
- If you have a DUI on your record, it makes your insurance costs go up. Your rates might end up being higher for years to come.
- If you lose your license for a period of time, you will have to pay to reinstate it.
- Your car might be impounded if you’re arrested for a DUI, so you have to pay a lot of fees to get your car back. You might also have to use an ignition interlock device when you get your license back, and that can mean paying maintenance and installation fees.
- In some states, if you’re convicted of a DUI, you’re required to go to DUI classes. These can be as much as $1000, which you have to pay for out of your own pocket.
- You’re probably going to need to pay a lawyer you represent you in court.
- Courts will impose additional fines and penalty assessments on you that can be between $1000 and $2500 or significantly more.
You may be responsible for civil liability if your DUI led to an accident, and then a lawsuit stems from that.
If you get a DUI, it can potentially affect your work and career in a variety of ways. For example, you might miss work to deal with appointments with your attorney or court dates. You could also miss work time if you get a prison sentence.
Not being able to drive can impact your ability to reliably get to work, so this could lead to you being fired for attendance issues.
A DUI goes on your permanent background record unless you can get it expunged. When this happens, if you apply for a job in the future, you’ll be required to disclose your criminal history.
A lot of employers do criminal background checks to keep their other employees, customers, and workplaces safe.
Even if some employers are willing to hire you, you may be limited in the positions you can qualify for. For example, it’s unlikely that you have a DUI that you’re going to be able to work in a delivery job.
If you work in a profession requiring a state license, such as nursing, the law, or being a plumber or electrician, you could have that license denied or revoked because of a DUI.
One of the often overlooked consequences of a DUI is that you may not be able to travel abroad if you’re convicted. If you travel for any reason, leisure or for work, you may have to get special permission from some international governments if you have a DUI on your record. It can create complications even if you are allowed to go.
For example, Americans can typically travel to Australia pretty easily with an electronic visa. If you have a DUI on your record, that becomes a lot less easy. The vias application requires that you have no criminal record or convictions.
You could be banned permanently from entering Australia in some cases.
In Canada, driving under the influence is a felony. If you’re convicted of a DUI, you can’t cross the border to Canada for a minimum of five years, and if you are once again able to go there, you have to pay a fine.
Mexico often denies anyone a visa if they’re convicted of a felony in the past ten years as well.
5. Buying a House
Finally, if you apply for a mortgage, the DUI itself isn’t going to impact the lender’s decision. There are indirect ways, however, that a DUI can affect your ability to buy a home and qualify for a loan to do so.
First, a DUI conviction can have a negative effect on your credit. You may be stuck with enormous bills and court fees, and those can become a financial burden. The burden can then prevent you from paying your other bills on time, impacting your credit.
You could also lose your job, so you may have less income.
People who are convicted of DUIs tend to have employment gaps as well if they’re fired because of any reason related to the situation. If you have gaps in your employment, a mortgage lender will see these and want to know what happened. Lenders can’t hold it against you that you were in jail, but if it affected your career or finances, they can.