Every 51 minutes in America, someone is killed in a drunk driving accident. Every 2 minutes in America, someone is injured in a drunk driving accident. And every year in America, approximately 150,000 people get arrested for DUIs.
We’ve been warned over and over again about the negative consequences of driving under the influence basically since middle school. Every year since, it seemed Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) would come bearing a trailer filled with a smashed up car and a story about a child that lost their life as a result of one driver’s decision. Yet accidents involving a drunk driver continue to rise in our country.
If these stats aren’t enough to convince you not to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, maybe the following 10 consequences you can expect after a DUI will.
1. You’ll Go To Jail
Thinking about driving under the influence? Be prepared to spend a night in jail. Even first time offenders get hauled down to the big house after a DUI and can be stuck there for longer than you think. For example in New Mexico, first time offenders get up to 90 days in jail, a $500 fine, up to 1 year probations. First time offenders also receive a mandatory 24 hours of community service, DWI school, and completion of a substance abuse screening and recommended treatment.
2. You’ll Have to Pay The Fine
Here’s hoping you have an extra $10,000 just laying around. DUI fines are expensive, and while they vary from state to state, the average cost after fines, bail, lawyer fees, and court appearances is roughly $10k. Not to mention if you’ve hurt or killed another person while driving, you’ll likely have a lawsuit on your hands. In New Mexico, with the help of a car accident attorney, a victim can sue you for negligence, injury, or wrongful death, which can end in thousands of dollars of compensation coming from you and your insurance company.
3. Say Goodbye to Your License
In all 50 states, if you get caught driving under of drugs or alcohol, you are guaranteed to lose your driving privileges. For first time offenders, your license will likely be suspended for up to a year. Beyond that, there is chance your license will be revoked completely.
4. Your Car Insurance Will Spike
You can expect an increase of 80 percent, on average, after a DUI conviction, though those rates could climb as high as 371 percent depending on which state you live in and previous convictions. Most insurance companies see driving under the influence as a high risk activity and can even cancel your coverage all together. These increased rates can last for years after conviction.
5. Introducing Your New Ignition Interlock Device
Most US states now make it mandatory to equip your vehicle with an ignition interlock device after your first DUI conviction. The device connects to your car’s ignitions and basically makes you to take a breathalyzer test in order to turn on your car. If alcohol is detected, the car won’t start and in some cases, it could result in a security alarm being activated.
6. Your Scholarship Could Be At Risk
College is often the high time of partying in a lot of people’s lives. It is also one of the riskiest times to get a DUI, especially if you are on scholarship or involved in a sports team. Many scholarship recipients and sports team members are subject to background checks by the school, and many schools do not look highly upon students with previous DUI convictions.
7. Got A Job? You Could Lose It.
If your current job requires driving and you get popped with a DUI, there’s a good chance your employer will let you go. With a suspended license, you won’t be able to commute for work or perform necessary job duties. Some companies also have no-tolerance DUI policies, which means you can lose your job regardless of need to drive.
8. Looking for a Job? Look Again.
Background checks are a normal part of the hiring process. In order to be compliant with hiring guidelines and laws, you are required to admit to any felonies or criminal convictions. Since a DUI is considered a criminal activity, you will likely have to notify your prospective employer. Some employers have no tolerance DUI policies and will not hire anyone with previous convictions. These include, but are not limited to, firefighters, police officers, teachers, nurses, and government employees.
9. You Could Be Released From The Army
If you’re in the army and get charged with a DUI you will most likely be punished by your commanding officer. This punishment could be extra duty, attending AA, or potentially being released from duty all together.
10. You Can’t Travel Anywhere You Wish
Did you know there are certain countries that will deny you access if you have a criminal history? For DUI’s specifically your access to Canada, Mexico, and New Zealand can be completely denied, canceling any attempts at upcoming travel plans.
With rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft, or even public transportation or the always reliable cab companies, there are alternative options to drinking and driving at your fingertips. The impact of a DUI can be detrimental, costing you thousands, and that’s not to mention the potential cost of your life or someone else’s.