It’s likely that you already know that the first time you’re convicted of a DUI in California, you will lose your driving privileges for a period of time, be required to pay some hefty fines and have to take some substance abuse classes.
What you may not have considered is the long-term impact that a single DUI will have on your life.
The first thing you need to consider is how your employability will change following your DUI. The biggest challenge comes right after you’ve been sentenced and have your driving privileges revoked. How are you going to get to work? How will you get home? If you’re unable to make the commute to your current job because you are no longer able to drive, will your employer give you a leave of absence and allow you to return to work once your driving privileges are reinstated, or are you going to have to look for another job?
The DUI conviction could also impact your ability to get another job. Some employers specifically ask if you have a criminal conviction on your record when you apply. Whether you have to disclose your DUI depends on how the question is worded. If they are only asking about felony charges, you can avoid mentioning the conviction. However, if they ask about any criminal offenses, including misdemeanors, it’s in your best interest to mention the DUI. This protects you if the potential employer runs a background check that turns up the DUI conviction. At least they won’t think you’re dishonest.
Be prepared for the DUI to play a painful role in your budgeting for a long time to come. Not only will you have to deal with the court fines connected to the conviction, but it’s also going to have a seriously negative impact on your car insurance. Many insurance companies will drop you after you’ve been convicted of a DUI. Even if your insurance company does decide to keep you on as a customer, you should be prepared for your premiums to skyrocket and for them to stay high for a very long time.
The first time you’re convicted of a DUI in California, you’re potential sentence could include a six-month suspension of your driver’s license, a $390-1000 fine, DUI school, and up to six months in a county jail.