When happy hour turns into “how did it get so late,” it can be easy to make the decision to hurry up and drive yourself home. After all, you have to work in the morning. But when this choice turns into an arrest for DUI/OVI, you may be rethinking everything.
On one end of the spectrum, it can feel like the worst mistake you’ve ever made. On the other end, you know at least three other people who have gotten DUIs. You also wonder if perhaps it would just be easier to plead guilty, deal with the repercussions, and put this embarrassing incident behind you. You keep wondering, just how big of a deal is a DUI/OVI?
You could go to jail
When jail time is a not-unlikely penalty, you know you are dealing with a serious situation. Depending on your level of intoxication, whether you refuse a breath test or you have prior offenses, the penalties vary and can be severe. They may include:
- Hefty fines
- A criminal record
- License suspension or revocation
- Mandatory drug or alcohol treatment
- Special license plates
- Ignition interlock installation
- Vehicle forfeiture
These aren’t minor traffic offenses – a conviction can be detrimental to your finances and future.
What’s your future employer going to think?
A conviction is on your record. A background check run by a potential employer might turn this up. A DUI conviction might equal “convict” in an employer’s mind. Perhaps they are willing to overlook it due to your stellar resume. But what happens if there’s an equally-qualified candidate with a clean record? This could be the deciding factor between an offer letter and a rejection letter.
A charge doesn’t need to lead to a conviction
Now that you understand how serious this charge can be, it’s also important to understand that just because you were charged doesn’t mean you will be convicted. You can defend yourself by hiring an attorney. You might think that a failed breath test means a sure conviction, but that’s not necessarily the case. Any evidence against you is up for analysis and scrutiny, such as whether the instruments used in the breath test were maintained properly or were even accurate.
You have options. A bad choice doesn’t need to ruin your life.