What Are the Consequences of Driving Under the Influence?

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A police officer asks for a breathalyzer, only one of the consequences of driving under the influence.

As many know, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have long-lasting and severe consequences, ranging from the guilt of injuring an innocent party to costly legal repercussions. Some consequences of driving under the influence include suspension of your license, mandatory treatment programs, jail time and/or fines, and driving prohibitions.

If you have experienced an issue with driving under the influence in North Carolina, get in touch with an experienced drunk driving lawyer at the law offices of Tatum & Atkinson right away.

The Consequences of Drunk Driving

The consequences of drunk driving can be extensive. Below are some of the possible consequences of driving under the influence.

1. Being Arrested

If you are found by law enforcement to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you should anticipate being arrested. This will include being handcuffed, taken to jail or a police station, and photographed.

2. Having Your Vehicle Impounded

When you are taken in after being arrested for drinking and driving, there is a significant likelihood that your vehicle will be towed and impounded. While the officer may let you leave your vehicle roadside or allow someone else to drive it home, you will likely be responsible for any towing and storage fees associated with your arrest. Unfortunately, if your license has already been previously suspended or you do not have a valid ID, your vehicle will likely end up in long-term impound, which can easily rack up hefty fees quite quickly.

3. Appearing in Court

After being arrested for driving under the influence, you will receive a ticket that will include a court date for your public hearing. At your hearing, evidence will be prevented against you, including camera footage from the police office, BAC test results, officer testimony, and more. If you are guilty of a crime, it is almost always best to plead guilty, as this may gain you some leniency with the judge (which may lead to lower fines and a reduced jail time). However, discussing your options with a drunk driving lawyer is best if you are arrested for driving under the influence.

4. Receiving Heavy Fines

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will likely be required to pay a fine. Fines may vary significantly from location to location and the severity of the crime. Fines may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

5. Losing your License

Your license will likely be suspended if you are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. License suspension ranges also vary significantly from date to state. Some states will only suspend your license for a few weeks, and others will have a minimum of 1 year. Typically, reinstating your license will require fines, a reasonably lengthy suspension period to pass, and successful completion of a drug and alcohol course.

6. Going to Jail

Unfortunately, even minor first offenses regarding driving under the influence can lead to a few days in jail. More and more states are adopting mandatory jail sentencing for all DUI charges. When it comes to repeat offenders, most states will require them to serve a relatively significant amount of time in jail.

7. Serving a Probation Period

In the increasingly unlikely event that you are not required to spend time in jail, it is still very likely that you will be put on probation. Probation terms will vary from case to case but can include:

  • Complying with the law
  • Abstaining from drugs and alcohol
  • Completing substance abuse evaluation
  • Agreeing to random alcohol testing and/or urine assessments

It is imperative that you comply with the specific terms of your probation. Severe violations of your probation may result in jail time.

8. Taking Drug and Alcohol Courses

In almost all cases, you must take a drug and alcohol rehabilitation course to get your license back. These classes will typically require several classroom hours, drug/alcohol testing, and meeting with a trained substance abuse counselor.

9. Paying More for Auto Insurance

After you have served your sentence and had your driving privileges restored, you will likely find lingering consequences for driving under the influence. Many states will require you to file an SR-22 form which indicates that you are a high-risk driver. After a DUI, your premiums are likely to spike, especially if there was an accident in which another party was injured. One study indicated that a DUI might cause insurance premiums to increase by 71%.

10. Getting an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Installed

After the conviction of driving under the influence, you will likely be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) in your vehicle. Presently, 30 states have mandatory ignition interlock provisions for driving under the influence offenses. An in-car breathalyzer will require you to pass a breath test to start your vehicle. If you do not pass the test, your car will not start. It is also important to note that your state will dictate how often you need to have this device serviced and calibrated.

Drinking and Driving Consequences

Drinking and driving consequences can be severe and affect more than just your driving ability and wallet. A conviction for drinking and driving can exclude you from certain jobs or lead to losing your current employment. You may find professional driving licenses revoked. You may find educational institutions, financial institutions, and rental agencies unwilling to admit, lend, or lease to an individual with a criminal record. One mistaken night of fun and irresponsible driving can lead to decades of struggle. When facing penalties due to drinking and driving or driving under the influence of drugs, retaining an attorney is a must. A car accident lawyer can limit the life-changing consequences that driving under the influence can cause.

Contact Tatum & Atkinson “The Heavy Hitters” today at (800) 529-0804 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and see what the right attorney can do to help you!