The Implications of a DUI Conviction

DUI Charges without a License can have a serious impact on an individual’s life, even beyond the criminal consequences. It can interfere with future job prospects, impact insurance rates and even keep someone from obtaining certain professional licenses.

A first offense DUI usually results in a misdemeanor charge and carries fines, jail time and community service hours. However, serious and repeated offenders are at risk for much stiffer charges and penalties.

Loss of Driver’s License

The law in many states considers driving under the influence to be a crime, and conviction of this charge can lead to a license suspension. Getting a court-ordered evaluation or treatment can help people keep their licenses and avoid losing them altogether.

In order to be found guilty of DUI, prosecutors must prove you were impaired by alcohol or a controlled substance and that the level of that substance in your system was above the legal limit for your age and vehicle type. You also may need to get special insurance known as SR-22 insurance that can be expensive.

Some drivers may have a chance to avoid a lengthy license suspension by identifying errors in police reports or breath test results early on. Finding these arrest-specific defenses can often mean avoiding an interlock device requirement or getting your suspended license back earlier than expected.

Jail Time

Depending on the jurisdiction and severity, a DUI may result in jail time. If a person is convicted of a DUI involving severe bodily injury or death, it can even be considered a felony crime.

Jail time associated with DUI varies from state to state and depends on many factors, such as whether it is your first offense, whether children were present in the vehicle at the time of the offense, and what your blood alcohol content (BAC) was when you were driving. In some cases, the judge might require an alcohol abuse treatment program as part of your sentence.

For some people, a DUI conviction means not only having to pay fines and have their car insurance rate increased, but also having to rely on friends and family members for transportation to work and other places. This can cause problems in careers where the ability to drive is a requirement for employment.


A DUI conviction is a serious offense and has far-reaching consequences. Individuals must pay fines, a license revocation fee (depending on the jurisdiction), community service hours, mandatory alcohol abuse classes and installation of a BAC interlock device. These fees can add up and make it difficult for individuals to pay their bills.

DWAI charges are less severe than DWI charges and can be tailored to reflect the manner of intoxication, such as a DWAI-drugs charge or a DWAI-alcohol charge. A first conviction usually results in a fine of $300 to $500 and possible imprisonment up to 15 days.

DUI charges can also have a negative impact on your job, especially in cases where you are arrested for drunk driving causing an accident or killing someone. Additionally, many employers do not want to hire applicants with DUI convictions and may require a criminal background check before hiring.

Insurance Rate Increases

As a DUI is considered a serious offense, motorists with DUI convictions will experience substantial auto insurance rates increases. The exact increase will depend on your state and insurance company practices.

Insurers see DUIs as high-risk driving behaviors that put others at risk of being injured or killed in an accident. As a result, they will likely raise your car insurance rates significantly on average 74% according to MoneyGeek.

Typically, your insurance will stay high after you get a DUI for three to five years, depending on your state’s laws and the severity of the offense. To lower your rates, shop around and try to avoid getting additional traffic tickets or accidents. Also, consider a usage-based car insurance policy that monitors your driving and offers discounts for good behavior.


Having a DUI conviction on your record can make it more difficult to find employment, particularly in career fields that require the operation of company vehicles such as sales, pizza delivery or cab driving. However, employers are not legally permitted to deny a job applicant solely on the basis of a DUI conviction. Even a first-offense DUI will appear on your criminal background, but most companies will give an employer or job applicant the chance to explain that they undertook rehabilitative measures such as alcohol treatment and education programs to have their conviction set aside.

There are some private and government organizations that may reject applicants who have a DUI on their record, particularly if the position requires a top secret security clearance. This is because some people see the presence of a DUI on a person’s record as compromising their integrity and ability to perform responsibilities in their positions.

Eric Sara
the authorEric Sara