It’s easy to think that a DUI will never happen to you. In most states, in order to be charged with a DUI, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must be at least .08.
But, according to a Colorado Springs DUI lawyer, in states like Colorado, you can get charged with a DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) if your BAC is between .05 and .08. So it’s possible to be charged for driving home after virtually any event at which you were drinking socially.
Both DUI and DWAI have the potential to have a significant impact on your life, both in the short and the long term. Here are five significant ways a DUI or DWAI conviction can affect you.
A DUI charge can put your professional reputation at risk. Many employers conduct background checks, or otherwise require you to disclose criminal convictions (not necessarily arrests). This issue could arise with both current and prospective employers, meaning that it will likely be more difficult to get and keep a job. The public sector, including military and government positions, may be particularly challenging.
Additionally, because a DUI places restrictions on your ability to drive, you will have a problem if your job involves driving. It will also be more difficult to travel to your job, if you have one.
If someone else was injured as a result of you driving while intoxicated, you may face a civil lawsuit in addition to likely criminal charges. Both types of prosecuting can be emotionally and mentally challenging to deal with. The results of the lawsuit(s) may have long-term, life-changing effects.
Car insurance rates always go up after a DUI conviction. On average, the increase is 80% (though it may be much higher, depending on your insurance and which state you live in. In some cases, your insurance may even get cancelled, in which case you will likely have a tough time finding replacement coverage.
Getting a DUI charge or conviction can put strain on your close relationships, including those with your family and significant other. It’s possible that relationships could be damaged during the criminal process and aftermath.
One more significant way that a DUI can affect your life is something that many people don’t consider: your mental health. Criminal charges and convictions are inherently stressful. Even the experience of being arrested can bring on feelings of anxiety or panic. Additionally, surviving a drunk driving car crash can bring on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Driving under the influence of alcohol can have profound, far-reaching effects on your lives and the lives of others. Avoiding drinking and driving is the best way to avoid the heartbreak and fallout that can result from a DUI conviction.