There are direct consequences for a Driving while Under the Influence (DUI) conviction in Georgia. These direct consequences include the potential for
- jail time or prison time,
- a fine,
- community service,
- a chemical use assessment,
- educational programming, and
However, there are also “collateral consequences” to a DUI conviction. These consequences refer to the consequences which do stem directly from the criminal justice system but are very real consequences none the less.
A DUI is a Criminal Conviction
While many people view a DUI as a simple error in judgment, under the law a DUI is a criminal offense. A DUI conviction puts people in a situation wherein when asked, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” they must respond “yes.” Having a criminal conviction can have an impact on all sorts of aspects of one's life.
Qualifying for Financial Aid
Federal financial aid is limited for people convicted of drug-related offenses. If your DUI is based on being under the influence of illegal drugs or inhalants, this may impact your ability to qualify for federal aid. While there are ways to overcome this presumption of non-qualification, additional steps must be taken.
Additionally, if one is convicted of certain offenses relating to drugs while receiving financial aid, their eligibility for federal student aid can be suspended.
More than half of all colleges acknowledge they consider criminal convictions when evaluating applications for admission. While a DUI conviction is not a complete bar to a college education, it may impact the schools who will consider admitting you.
Increased Car Insurance Rates
Even if you don't get into an accident, expect a DUI conviction to increase the rates you pay for auto insurance. Experts say you can expect to pay increased rates for between three to seven years. The increase in rates can be significant. Often times, the premiums paid by people with DUI convictions are three to five times as high as those rates paid by people without DUI convictions.
Difficulty Renting an Apartment
Most landlords want both a credit check and criminal records check before leasing an apartment to any given applicant. A DUI conviction can make it more difficult to rent an apartment. A series of DUI convictions, including a felony conviction, can make this process even harder. Obviously, the impact of a DUI conviction lessens with time.
Difficulty Maintaining a Professional License
There are many professions that require a license. Those licensing boards have their own rules about what steps must be taken in order to preserve or reinstate a license to practice after a DUI conviction. A profession may require a practitioner provide proof of a chemical use assessment, that they are able to practice their profession with reasonable skill and safety, or another standard specific to the profession. Consequences of a DUI may include sanctions by a licensing board, including
- a private reprimand,
- a public reprimand,
- probationary terms,
- suspension of one's license, and
- revocation of one's license, either temporarily or permanently.
Difficulty Maintaining Employment
As a preliminary matter, a DUI charge may result in an arrest, which could prevent someone from either going to work or calling into work taking a personal day. However, even if one can overcome the initial negative consequences of a DUI arrest, they may not be able to keep their job. If a job requires regular driving, a DUI charge may be prohibitive. Further, some employers require a completely clean criminal record. A DUI conviction could result in a loss of employment. Finally, the loss of one's license may result in the loss of the ability to get to and from one's place of employment. Thus, while the DUI charge alone isn't a bar to employment, the circumstances that surround a DUI charge may result in job loss.
Difficulty Obtaining Employment
Employers, like landlords, are more and more likely to run a criminal background check prior to offering a potential employee a job. In a situation where two candidates are essentially equal, a DUI conviction may impact the decision in the other person's favor.
The Loss of One's Driving Privileges
A DUI arrest alone can lead to the suspension of one's driving privileges. This is a civil action which is separate from the criminal action. The only way to protect one's driving privileges is to challenge the license suspension. A challenge to the suspension of one's driving privileges is similar to the challenge one may make to the criminal charges themselves. There may be an issue with the stop, the detention of the driver after the stop, the decision to require testing, the form of the testing, the method of collecting the evidence for testing, the accuracy of the instrumentation used for testing, or with the interpretation of the results. Even if one's attorney challenges these issues in the criminal case, without a separate challenge in the civil case, the challenge to one's driving privilege is waived.
Are You Facing DUI Charges?
There are many ways a DUI conviction can impact one's life. If you are facing DUI charges, you can take proactive steps to protect your criminal record and your driving privileges by hiring a DUI attorney who understands both the direct and collateral consequences of a DUI conviction. Our Hall County DUI attorneys have over 20 years of experience handling DUI cases, both as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. This unique background gives our firm the edge. We take calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We do not charge for an initial consultation. Contact us today to discuss your DUI charges at 404.816.4440.