Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious crime that can not only cause serious injury and death to one’s self, but to others on the road. Aside from the direct impacts that can occur at the scene of an accident, DUI’s can impact one’s life for years to come. From economic repercussions, to jail time and probation, being convicted of a DUI will affect your life for the rest of your life. If you have been arrested for a DUI, contact a defense attorney at first chance, to help understand your rights and your future within the legal system.
Punitive DUI Consequences
Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in the state of Arizona carries stiff penalties. A first offense DUI conviction can come with:
- 10 days in jail
- $1500 in fines
- Jail costs
- Monitoring service fee
- Required counseling
- 12 months of an automobile interlock device
Non-Punitive DUI Consequences
Consequences can go well beyond that list as it may also affect your livelihood. A DUI conviction can result in consequences that impact your career:
- Professional License. Professions such as doctors, lawyers and nurses may be required to report the arrest to the agency that issues the professional license. Some agencies will revoke a professional license if the holder is convicted of a crime.
- Fingerprint Clearance Card. The Arizona Department of Public Safety issues fingerprint clearance cards that are necessary for certain professions, such as teachers. A DUI conviction could cause the restriction or suspension of that clearance. If you are required to hold a fingerprint clearance card to maintain employment, this could impact your career.
- Suspended Driving Privileges. Unless or until you qualify for a restricted license that allows you to drive for very specific reasons such as employment, you will need to use alternative methods of transportation to get to and from work. This can be costly and time-consuming. Depending on the work you do and the transportation available to you, not having reliable transportation for work could cause you to lose your job.
- Insurance Loss. Some insurance companies won’t insure people who have DUI convictions. Those that do may charge steep premiums. If your job requires you to drive or operate heavy equipment, your employer may lose their insurance coverage unless they fire you.
- Mandatory Firing. It’s common for employers to include in employment contracts or have a company policy that requires dismissal of any employee convicted of a crime. In these cases, the employment relationship will be severed, and you will have to seek employment elsewhere.
- Attendance Issues. Court appearances, jail time, and mandatory counseling are all likely to require you to miss work. Employers may not be willing to accommodate excessive absenteeism – especially when they find out why. An employer can let you go if they are unwilling or unable to accommodate your need for time off.
- Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Commercial driver’s licenses are governed by both state and federal regulations. It is possible that you will no longer be able to hold a CDL with a DUI conviction on your record. If you rely on your commercial driver’s license for work, you may need to change careers.
- Job Search. Although Arizona no longer allows employers to inquire about past felony convictions on job applications, there are many professions for which a felony conviction prohibits employment. So, although you may not be required to disclose it initially, it will still show up when the employer conducts a background check as part of their pre-employment screening process. If they have a policy against employing someone with a criminal record or if their licensure prohibits it, you will not pass their pre-employment screening process and will have to start your job search over.
Do I Have Any Recourse?
Driving under the influence is a serious charge. Because of the severity of the charge and the potential for devastating consequences, it’s essential that you have strong representation. Just because you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, does not mean that you will be convicted. A DUI lawyer will be able to evaluate the case against you to determine the strength of the case or if the police handled the matter properly. In some cases, the charges may be dismissed for lack of evidence or a technical error.