Costs for a DUI Offense Can Include Lifelong Employment Problems, Plus Shame, Depression

Fines. Jail time. Loss of employment. Loss of license. The penalties for having a DUI are severe and go much farther than marks on a driving record. The penalties for a DUI can last a lifetime in the occupational and emotional levels, beyond even the immediate tragic consequences including injuries or fatalities.

Once a person completes jail time, court appointments and pays penalty fines, their DUI consequences are just beginning. In terms of the workplace, many motorists who have received a DUI conviction find themselves let go on various grounds, including terms like “improper conduct.” Coworkers can shun a coworker who has received a DUI, causing serious problems completing projects and working in team settings. Employers may skip over a person who has a DUI offense when opportunities for promotions arise, even if the reasons aren’t stated to pertain precisely to the DUI.

In many cases, the DUI conviction affects a person’s ability to serve as a role model in their position of employment, thus justifying their termination from the position. In other cases, the license suspensions received from a DUI conviction render a person unable to perform their job duties and they can be terminated. New DUI laws for repeat offenders can mean a loss of driver’s license for a decade – making employment difficult to maintain. If classes are ordered by the court as part of the DUI punishment, a person with a DUI offense may not be able to maintain their work schedule, resulting in the loss of that employment position.

For job-seekers with a DUI conviction, a background check can put progress to a standstill. A candidate with a DUI on the record can face the loss of an opportunity to have an interview or to complete the application process. Not only will the person likely face delays in seeking new employment, financial obligations will also increase with dramatic jumps in car insurance rates or a loss of coverage altogether.

Emotionally, the effects of a DUI can last for years. In 2009, Republican legislative candidate Steve May removed himself from the race when his ten-day jail sentence and three years’ probation sentence surfaced, consequences of a DUI in Arizona. He stated in an apology for his behavior that his actions did not portray his plans to be a positive community influence, and made his apology in the midst of strong public criticism for his DUI conviction. When an ignition-interlock device or breathalyzer is installed into a driver’s vehicle, drivers have reported experiencing the stigma attached to having had a past DUI every time they start their vehicle.

A DUI offense is much more than a mark on a driver’s history. Many DUI convictions remain for a lifetime on a driver’s record, and can carry shame, anxiety and depression – along with missed opportunities for employment and a high cost to personal relationships.