Some people do not realize the long-lasting effects a driving under the influence conviction can have on their life and career. Drink driving is illegal and it puts yourself and others in danger. The ramifications of a DUI on your life can be huge. Here are just five ways a DUI can affect you:
DUI impact on professional and personal life
There is a stigma related to drink drivers that never goes away. A conviction will mean a driving suspension, which might mean you can no longer attend social and professional obligations. Imagine not being able to drive your son or daughter to their sports game on the weekend, or losing your job because you can't travel to the office. Some potential employers require applicants to disclose any previous criminal convictions. This may leave certain jobs closed off to you.
Possibility of automatic suspension
In Georgia, a DUI arrest will result in an automatic one-year license suspension if you refuse to take a chemical test to establish your blood alcohol level. This will be an even longer suspension for a second or third offense: three and five years, respectively. Any other suspensions are dealt with by the Department of Driver Services. You can appeal this suspension within 10 days of your arrest.
Permanent criminal record
A DUI conviction will remain on your criminal record forever-- it can never be expunged. This can show up on background checks and affect job prospects. Georgia also has a "look back" period of 10 years, meaning any subsequent convictions within that period bring stricter penalties.
Potential jail time
An arrest will be made if your blood alcohol level is above the statutory limit of .08 percent. You could face up to one year of prison time, or more if you have been convicted of a DUI before. You can also face an arrest and jail time even if your blood alcohol level is below the statutory limit, but above .05 percent. A penalty can be applied for the lower limit if the state can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you were less able to drive effectively as a result of alcohol consumption.
Mandatory minimum criteria for sentencing
Every judge in Georgia must follow the mandatory minimum criteria for sentencing. A first conviction does not have a mandatory jail time, but it does have a mandatory 40 hours of community service. A second conviction brings a mandatory penalty of a minimum of 48 hours in jail, a minimum of 30 days community service, and a three-year license suspension. You are also required to undertake a clinical evaluation.
A third conviction means a mandatory 15 days in jail, a minimum $1,000 fine, 30 days of community service, and a five-year license suspension. You will also have your name, photo and address published in a local paper, be declared an "habitual violator" and undertake a clinical evaluation.
If you are charged with a DUI, contact an Atlanta-area lawyer to discuss your options.