Understanding the Personal and Financial Consequences of Drinking and Driving

It can be easy to underestimate the impact a DUI (driving under the influence) charge can have on one’s personal life. This is often because the legal ramifications are easier to predict. But an arrest or conviction for a DUI can have an enormous impact on you and your family, from your budget to your relationships. The San Diego Injury Lawyers team will work closely with you so that you fully understand the financial, social, and emotional consequences of drinking and driving at their office in San Diego, CA

Financial Impact

In terms of the financial, a DUI can end up costing an offender up to thousands of dollars. Even if you are not convicted, the legal process alone is expensive. Depending on the case, court fees can cost anywhere from five hundred to two thousand dollars.

A DUI conviction can also make much more difficult to keep or find a job, which can strain a family budget.

If your driver’s license is suspended, you will also need to pay anywhere between two hundred and five hundred dollars to reinstate it. Unfortunately, because suspension can occur if you fail or refuse a sobriety test before going to court, you may need to pay this regardless of conviction.

Paper currency burningIn addition to criminal and emotional consequences, the financial burden of a DUI conviction can be substantial.

If you are convicted, there will be further expenses. In the short-term, this can include damages, probation fees, and payment for the installation and renting of monitoring equipment on your ignition. In the long-term, it can entail ongoing therapy, substance abuse counseling, driver’s education, and punitive fees.

The resulting strain on you and your family’s budget can make it harder to afford a house, mortgage, childcare, college tuition, utilities, insurance, family vacations, and even groceries. A DUI conviction can also make much more difficult to keep or find a job, which can strain a family budget even further – particularly if the driver was the primary wage-earner up until that point.

Criminal Charges

While a DUI is serious, there is a significant difference between an arrest and a conviction. While an arrest usually results in an administrative punishment – the suspension of your license – the effects are often short-term. The DUI remains only on your driving record with the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles).

With a conviction, however, charges are formally put onto your criminal record. Depending on the nature of the arrest, you may face prison time – up to a year if it is ruled a misdemeanor, and much longer if it is ruled a felony. Although California allows you to expunge a DUI from your criminal record after your probation period is over, until that point, anyone can find it – including potential employers. 

Emotional Impact

The legal and financial aftermath of a DUI arrest and conviction also often has a cascading effect upon a driver’s personal life. Although the precise effects are impossible to predict, some of the most commonly seen problems are:

  • Lost friendships
  • Increased risk of divorce
  • Complicated custody disputes
  • Resentment from children
  • Loss of college admission or scholarships
  • Reduced independence for teenage offenders

Each of these alone can have a significant impact on a driver’s personal life. With the added strain of budget restrictions, a DUI can severely damage relationships with family and friends.

Learn What to Expect Today

The team at San Diego Injury Lawyers provides personalized and compassionate legal counsel to each and every client. If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, we can help prepare you for what to expect during and after the court process. Reach out today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case with a professional.