By Landon Biehl (guest writer)
There are many situations we may be presented with where it’s clear that one small decision can have a huge ripple effect on our life. Perhaps one of the most prominent of these circumstances is the choice to drink alcohol and get behind the wheel of a car. Whether it affects your own life, your family’s life or the life of a complete stranger, choosing to drive while under the influence can have a negative impact in more ways than one. What are some of the implications of this decision? What happens when you’re convicted of DUI?
The Possibility of Injuring Yourself or Others
First and foremost, it’s crucial to consider the likelihood of getting in a wreck and injuring yourself or others on the road. Many people are in denial of this possibility and have the mindset that it won’t happen to them. Unfortunately, not everyone is that lucky.
What if you severely injure yourself in an accident? What if you severely injure someone else—or worse? Consider the repercussions of paralysis or accidentally killing someone and being charged with manslaughter. The solution is simply to say no to drinking and driving.
Time Spent in Jail
In many states, jail time has become mandatory even for first time offenders. While in some cases, the driver may have to spend one night in jail, in other situations he or she may be there for 10 days or more. If it’s not your first offense, you can expect jail time to be mandatory, and it will almost certainly last longer than just a few days.
Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
Depending on the laws for your state, your license may be revoked for up to two years with the first DUI conviction. Having your license revoked is more than just incredibly inconvenient—it drastically alters your life.
How will you get to and from work every day? Do you have kids that need to be taken to school in the morning and picked up in the afternoon? Consider how you’ll get basic errands completed, such as going to the grocery store or to the bank. Not having a license can create major changes in your life.
A Probationary Period
Whether or not you were sentenced time in jail, a probationary period will be required. This comes with its own expense as well—in many cases a monthly cost for a probation officer.
During the course of your probation, you may have a curfew in the evenings for when you have to be off of the roads. You may get your license back but only be allowed to drive to and from work or run family-related errands. The terms of your probation can vary depending on the severity of the situation, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst.
Your Employment Put at Risk
Being arrested requires jail time, court dates, meetings with lawyers, and community service—this can often get in the way of maintaining a full time job. Your current place of employment may not feel much sympathy or offer leniency toward your situation, putting your job at risk.
If you’re in the process of looking for work, you may be placed at a disadvantage with a DUI on your record. For jobs that require driving on the clock, you may be completely disqualified.
Increase in Auto Insurance Rates
Insurance companies label drivers who’ve been convicted of DUI to be high-risk drivers, which in turn causes auto insurance rates to skyrocket. The cost of ride sharingwith Uber or Lyft is roughly $15. This is much lower than what you can expect to pay your insurance company—let alone the total cost of a DUI.
Installation of Ignition Interlock Device
During the probationary period, the judge may order an ignition interlock device—a breathalyzer—to be installed in your vehicle. This will require a breath test in order for you car to start, as well as while you’re driving. This is not only irritating during your drive, but it’s incredibly costly. You can expect to pay an installation fee as well as monthly maintenance.
The cost of a DUI is incredibly high compared to that of ride sharing to ensure you have a designated sober driver. It’s clear that one poor choice, no matter how minimal, can create a ripple effect of negative outcomes. Keep the safety of others and of yourself in mind when you get behind the wheel of a car.