When you ask people about the effect of a DUI, they often just talk about what it is going to cost in a financial sense. They may Google the fine, for instance, and tell you that that is what a DUI costs. It changes depending on the number of offenses you have and other factors, but they’re just looking at the financial impact and, for serious crimes, the time you could spend in jail.
In reality, though, getting a DUI can have a vastly larger impact on your life. For instance, it can definitely impact your reputation, especially if it makes it into the local news. Friends, coworkers and family members are going to find out. Is your employer going to find out, as well? Will this change how you’re viewed in the community? Does it mean that you could lose your job?
It could also make it harder to get a job. Naturally, it’s not illegal to hire someone with a DUI and most people keep working in spite of their charges. However, imagine that it blows up in the local media when you get sentenced and everyone knows. You then lose your job for an unrelated reason — downsizing — and start looking for a new one. At every interview, they keep saying “You know, your name sounds familiar…”
If you don’t get the job, it’s impossible not to wonder if your DUI and the way it changed your reputation influenced the decision not to hire you. Plus, you could lose your job (or fail to get another one) while your license is suspended.
What is clear is that the impact of a DUI is far greater than the fines and you need to know what defense options you have. An experienced advocate can help you understand what you can do when you’re facing charges.