DUI and the Life Changing Consequences It Causes

by Lisa Coleman on July 19, 2013

A conviction for driving under the influence can be a life-altering event. There are many more areas of life that are impacted more than merely dealing with punishment imposed by the court. Many individuals do not consider the possible consequences of an impaired driving charge, but it can be a problem for the defendant for at least the next five years and sometimes a lifetime. Even borderline convictions for driving under the influence can create huge problems in an individual’s life. Luckily, and especially for those with a possibly adjustable charge, prosecutors can evaluate the case particulars and reduce the charge in appropriate instances of simple DUI. But, it is still not that simple.


Driving under the influence is a criminal charge and generates a criminal record. Although it is classified as a misdemeanor originally, multiple charges or aggravated charges can be escalated to felony status. States are not as harsh on a first conviction, and satisfying the punishment conditions of the court is easier than a repeat offense. Repeat offenses carry stronger penalties and are more difficult to explain when necessary. A convicted multiple offender must often show a complete reversal of the behavior when applying for employment. Many employers have an employment policy of maintaining a clean criminal history and even maintaining employment can be difficult in some professions.

Criminal Penalties

Punishment for any DUI will result in a suspension of driving privileges for a specific amount of time. Courts are not required by law to impose the state minimum in impaired driving cases, and they have the authority to increase suspensions in aggravated cases. Even a first DUI that is associated with a traffic accident can have lasting effects, especially if wrongful death or serious injury occurs. Multiple offenses will always result in driving privilege suspensions of at least one year, and more suspension time is possible for felony DUI. Some states will ban a driver’s license permanently for continual offenders.Fines are always substantial in DUI cases, and can often include additional service fees associated with alcoholic drivers’ education programs that each state requires. Of course, all DUI convictions carry the possibility of jail time. Multiple offenders can expect a detention range of 5 days to one year in the local jail system, depending on case particulars. Felony DUI convictions result in a minimum incarceration of one year in a state facility.Future Impact

It can take years to recover from the stigma of a DUI conviction, and this can extend well beyond dealing with the state. Not only does the conviction establish a criminal history, it also appears on the defendant driving record for 3 to 5 years. Automobile insurance premiums increase drastically during this period, as the convicted impaired driver must stay in the high-risk pool for the entire period in many states. The comprehensive punishment program is also designed to create a hardship on the defendant’s family in hopes the family will influence the pattern of behavior. This broad punishment can put stress on all personal relationships and make life more difficult for years to come without behavior modification.

How Hiring an Attorney can Help

It is important to hire an attorney knowledgeable in DUI law and experienced in the practice field when faced with the possible outcomes of a DUI conviction. Hiring an attorney within the city of where the DUI charge was given is ideal. For example, if your DUI charge was given within Philadelphia city limits then hiring a top Philadelphia lawyer would be recommended.

It is important to understand that even convictions for borderline impairment level charges will reflect a conviction on both the driving and criminal record. There are cases where a DUI record can be sealed from the public if the case qualifies on all conditions of expungement. Expunging a criminal record can be complicated and the legal representative must know before negotiating an agreement if that is the ultimate goal in settling the case.

With a DUI charge, an individual’s life can be negatively influenced and changed for many years. Retaining an attorney that is experienced and knowledgeable in DUI defense can help offset the negative influences in your future. They will work hard to suppress, challenge and disprove the evidence in your case. They will question and investigate the calibration and maintenance records of any blood work, breathalyzer, or field sobriety testing that has been performed. These measures can help with the improvement of an individual’s case, and with the final impact.

Legal writer Lisa Coleman shares the devastating effects a DUI can cause on an individual’s life, and encourages their retaining a strongly experienced legal representative to handle their case. The Law Office of Steven E Kellis, a Philadelphia DUI lawyer firm, is experienced and equipped to fight for an individual’s future by representing and challenging all evidence in their client’s DUI case.

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