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What Are the Long-Term Effects of a DUI?

If you have been charged with a DUI, you could face a variety of consequences that could impact your life both now and into the future. For instance, you may lose your drivers license or spend time in jail or prison. That may make it harder to get into school or find a steady job outside of the home. Talking with an attorney may make it easier to avoid these or other consequences of a DUI.

Drivers May Face Mandatory Jail Time

Even if you are being charged with your first DUI, you could still spend several days or weeks in jail. Those who are repeat offenders may have to spend several months or years in jail. While judges may have some discretion as to how long you serve, spending any amount of time in jail can have a significant impact on your life.

Fines and Legal Costs Can Be Significant

An individual may spend up to $10,000 or more on fines, court costs and legal fees. Even if a person doesn’t have to pay a fine, he or she may still pay thousands in legal fees alone. This may force a defendant to take money out of a savings account or liquidate a brokerage account, which means a loss of compounding for several months or years.

Those Convicted of DUI Could Lose Their Homes

Another consequence of having to drain a savings account to pay costs related to DUI is the potential for a person to lose his or her home. If there is no money to pay the mortgage, the house may need to be sold. It may also be foreclosed upon if multiple payments are made late or missed entirely. In the event that a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the home may be liquidated to pay off creditors.

Those Convicted of DUI May Lose Parental Rights

Courts generally look to see that parents are fit to be around their children. Those who choose to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol may not be seen as fit to parent. Even if parental rights aren’t terminated, a parent who is convicted of drunk driving may be limited to supervised visitation or contact with a child by phone.

Your Reputation Could Be Tarnished Permanently

If you are a doctor, lawyer or otherwise a distinguished member of the community, your reputation may be tarnished for the rest of your life. This may lead to a loss of clients or the inability to find new ones. Lawyers may be disbarred while those who work for media outlets may be terminated simply for being charged with DUI. Politicians who are charged or convicted with drunk or impaired driving may have to give up their seats.

Drivers May Lose Their Licenses

In most cases, a first offense DUI will only result in a license suspension. However, if you are charged with DUI for a second or third time, you may be looking at a full revocation. This mostly depends on how much time has passed between convictions as well as the facts in those cases. However, if you do lose your license permanently, it may make it harder to live a normal life as there may not always be someone available to drive you around. Even if there are buses or Uber drivers nearby, it may cost money that you don’t have after resolving your DUI cases.

Relationships With Friends and Family May Be Strained

As a general rule, personal relationships with friends and family members may be strained. Some may feel as you committed an unforgivable offense by putting so many lives in danger. Those who may have lost friends or family members of their own to a drunk driver may not want to associate with you anymore. This is true whether you have just been charged for the first time or have a history of drunk driving offenses.

Those who have been charged or convicted of drunk driving should talk with an attorney immediately. Doing so could help them preserve their freedom as well as keep as much money as possible in their bank account. By showing that a driver was not impaired at the time of a traffic stop, it may be possible for an individual to preserve his or her reputation as well.