Most people are aware that driving while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or inhalants (DUI) has many consequences. For example, jail time (or, in some cases, prison time) and a hefty fine are part of the process. Most people also know they will be expected to perform a certain number of hours of community service, be put on probation, and will be required to obtain a chemical use assessment. Depending on the outcome of the chemical use assessment, the court may also require treatment of some kind. Further, there are driver's license consequences. DUI cases trigger driver's license suspensions, and there are a number of hoops one has to jump through in order to get their driving privileges back.
These are the direct consequences of getting a DUI. However, there are also collateral consequences that occur when someone is convicted of a DUI. Some collateral consequences, such as an increase in insurance premiums, happen to everyone. Other collateral consequences, such as the loss of a professional license, only happen to those who happen to hold a professional license. While collateral consequences vary, it is a good idea to know and understand what the collateral consequences may be.
Increased Car Insurance Rates
Once convicted of a DUI, not only will a driver's insurance rates go up, they will stay high for a considerable period of time. Studies show those convicted of DUI pay between three to five times more in insurance premiums than those who do not have a DUI conviction on their record. The insurance companies look at factors such as age, prior convictions, and other factors to determine how long someone convicted of DUI will pay the significantly higher premiums. It varies by company, but on average, people pay higher premiums between three and seven years before their rates are reduced again.
Difficulty Renting an Apartment
As a general rule, landlords perform background checks on their potential tenants, whether they are renting an apartment or an entire house. A background check will reveal any criminal convictions. This includes DUI convictions. When compared to another applicant who does not have any criminal convictions, a person with a DUI conviction may be viewed less favorably. Further, some apartment complexes have limitations on who may live in their community. They may not allow any convicted felons. Depending on how many DUI convictions one has, they may have a felony DUI conviction which would prohibit them from living there.
An Inability to Obtain or Keep a Job
DUI, of course, is not a complete bar to employment. Many people have DUI convictions who keep their current job, or later find a new job. However, these days, most employers are asking potential employees if they have any criminal convictions. DUI convictions are criminal convictions in the state of Georgia. As with the case in renting an apartment, compared to another candidate who does not have criminal convictions, a person with a DUI conviction may seem substantially less attractive as a potential candidate.
Whether or not you lose your job depends in large part on your employer, but it can also depend on the conditions of your employment. For example, a DUI conviction can be a bar to entry into certain countries, like Canada. If you regularly travel to Canada as part of your job duties, you may not be able to keep your job, as you may not be allowed in the country based on your DUI conviction.
Further, some employers require their employees to obtain and maintain a security clearance of some level or another. A criminal conviction may impact one's clearance, thus resulting in the loss of employment.
The Potential of Losing a Professional License
If you maintain a professional license, the governing body for your licensing board may have the ability to impact your license to practice your craft. This is true both when one applies to obtain certain licenses (such as a pilot's license) as well as when the license comes up for renewal.
Every licensing board has its own rules and procedures for reporting the conviction of a crime, such as a DUI. They also have their own rules about the consequences of a DUI conviction. Many licensing boards have rules that depend on the facts and circumstances of any given case. Thus, there may not be a simple road map for what consequences one may face.
Generally speaking, a person must show they are able to provide proof that they can perform their profession with reasonable skill and safety. Sanctions a licensing board may impose upon an applicant or licensee can include:
- A private reprimand
- A public reprimand
- Imposition of a probationary term, with conditions, such as proof of a chemical use assessment or completion of treatment
- Suspension of the license for a period of time
- A temporary revocation of the professional license or
- A permanent revocation of the professional license.
Doctors, nurses, and pilots are just a few of the license holders who may face consequences in they get a DUI in Georgia.
Difficulty Getting into College
Only about half of all college admissions committees consider criminal convictions when determining who will get into their college and who will be turned away. As a general rule, it is unlikely that a single DUI will prevent you from getting into the college of your choice, assuming you have the rest of your application in order. However, a series of DUIs in a short period of time, or a felony DUI conviction may give the school a basis for concern. The school may ask for proof of the completion of any recommendations made by the latest chemical use assessment before considering admission.
Facing DUI Charges?
There are many collateral consequences one faces if they are convicted of DUI charges. That is why it is so crucial to hire an experienced Atlanta DUI attorney to assist you in the process. We fight for our clients every step of the way, from challenging charging decisions, constitutional issues, factual issues, and test result interpretation, we never stop fighting for our clients. Call today at 404.816.4440.