Often Overlooked Collateral Consequences of a DUI Conviction
The potential financial hardships associated with a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) can be devastating. In fact, these costs currently average as much as $30,000.
While DUI fees and fines vary by state, the costs associated with a DUI conviction may include significantly higher auto insurance rates, mandatory treatment expenses, time off work to serve a jail sentence, and more. Other well-known burdens of a conviction include having a suspended license and reputational harm. However, there are additional, and often overlooked, collateral consequences of a DUI conviction, including:
1. Living With a DUI in an Age of Online Information
With the proliferation of internet accessibility, personal computers, and electronic devices including smartphones, virtually anyone can now access publicly available criminal records. Potential employers, lenders, landlords, rental and other agencies, and even dates, may all search a name online and immediately discover a person’s DUI history.
The chance of missing out on important opportunities—everything from finding a place to live to getting a good job—is exponentially increased for anyone who has been convicted of a crime. Even though most DUIs are misdemeanors, a potential date, boss, or investor may not understand or care what that means, and instead simply see the mark of a criminal record as automatically disqualifying.
2. Getting Around and Employability
If a DUI results in a license suspension there will be immediate transportation complications for anyone who relies on their car to get to work, school, or to take care of their family. For an offender who needs to drive for work, the consequences may be even more disastrous. If you are a commercial driver, have to use an employer’s vehicle to complete your duties, or drive for a rideshare company, your source of income may be gone as long as you do not have a valid driver’s license. Additionally, even if you do not drive for work right now, you may not be able to drive for work in the future because many jobs require a clean driving record. A suspended driver’s license may be temporary, while a DUI conviction may become a permanent problem.
3. Educational Opportunities and Future Earnings
Many colleges and universities check for criminal records of applicants as part of their admissions processes. Some institutions will not admit a new student with a criminal record, and even those that do may not offer scholarships, grants, or other funding that would make their program affordable.
Employment, earning potential, and lifetime income are closely related to education. When a criminal record negatively impacts a potential student’s ability to get an education or professional qualification, it may have an exponentially detrimental impact on their future. Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show weekly earnings vary according to degrees of education, with averages of:
- $515 for workers without a high school diploma;
- $718 for high school graduates;
- $1,189 for workers with a bachelor’s degree; and
- $1,451 for workers with advanced and professional degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate.
The difference of lifetime earnings for a person who was unable to access higher education and qualifications versus someone who was is millions of dollars. If a DUI conviction derails a person’s chances for admission to and financing of college, it can effectively derail their entire economic future.
4. Social Situations and Reputation in the Community
The social stigma of a DUI conviction may harm an offender’s reputation and relationships, and follow them long into their future. Peers, co-workers, associates in the community, and general acquaintances may judge and even reject a person if their criminal record is known, and even mostly understanding family and friends may no longer trust or view their loved one in the same way.
If you or a loved one have been arrested and charged with DUI, speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney as soon as possible. Getting a DUI conviction can immediately cost you financially, and it can cost you even more, in many other ways, for years to come. Don’t wait to get legal help, because you may not be able to afford not having an experienced advocate on your side.
Michael J. Skinner at Skinner Law Firm has successfully represented clients by negotiating with prosecutors and thoroughly investigating cases to establish all applicable defenses. Contact Skinner Law Firm at 610) 436-1410 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.