Being charged with driving a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol will have a negative impact on a number of different aspects of your life. While the consumption of alcohol is completely legal under U.S. Federal and state laws, there are a number of laws in place that make driving after drinking alcoholic beverages illegal. This is because it impairs your ability to operate a vehicle safely.
For those who think that driving a car after a night of drinking isn’t all that big of a deal, here are some things that you should be aware of.
Convictions for driving under the influence are expensive. Not only are the financial penalties high, so are the costs of a criminal defense attorney. Insurance companies have conducted studies that show that the cost of a first time OWI including court costs, fines, legal fees, etc total around $10,000. If this is your second offense, the cost goes up from there.
What the figure above doesn’t take into account is the impact that losing your driving privileges can have on your bank account. Paying for public transportation or arranging for a friend to carpool with can be exceptionally expensive, especially in light of the fact that the typical length of a OWI license suspension for a first time conviction is at least one year.
While most OWI convictions are tried and resolved as a misdemeanor, those who have had several convictions, you are seen as a habitual offender, a categorization that can land you a felony OWI conviction. When this happens, you can no longer claim to have never been convicted of a felony, which can severely limit your ability to find a good job and can prevent you from carrying a firearm or even operate a business (especially those that serve alcohol). You stand to lose a lot of credibility within your own community and social circles, making it tougher for you to reach your goals.
No one denies that an impaired driver is a danger to themselves and those who share the road with them. In the event that someone is injured due to your impaired status, you will also face not only the financial consequences to this, but will have to carry both the criminal charges and the moral/ethical weight of those injuries.
The amount of time that you will have to spend defending your case will be enormous. There will be appointments you will have to keep with your attorney, days spent in court and other penalties that will take you away from your job and your family. These include mandatory time in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, time in jail and more. All of this time can add up to more time that you can take off from work, jeopardizing your ability to remain gainfully employed.
And last but not least, the stress that such arrest records will place on your life is simply overwhelming. The financial stress can lead to marital stress as well as put an impact on the relationships you have with your children and the rest of your family. This stress can not only make it difficult to sleep and eat, but can also take a toll on you physically.