The horrors of drunk driving which can lead to drowsy driving frequently occupy our news channels and online reports. It’s illegal and actively fought against, yet its deadly consequences continue to happen. In 2011, there were 716 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in Florida. However, although injury and fatalities are the worst outcomes of drunk driving, there are several other devastating penalties that you might not even realize can come from receiving a DUI.
5 Consequences You Should Know
Just because you survived drinking and driving unharmed doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Besides dealing with personal injury claims or wrongful death cases if you were the drunk driver, a DUI could also lead to severe effects such as jail time or loss of employment. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 consequences of drinking and driving that are most commonly overlooked.
Loss of your License
After receiving a DUI, your driver’s license could be revoked for up to two years. In fact, an automatic license suspension takes place after a person has been pulled over just on the suspicion of driving. Once the driver is arrested, law enforcement officials can automatically revoke their driver’s license. Each state has the right to determine the length of time a temporary license lasts, the period within which a hearing must be held, and the length of the suspension. Once the suspension period is over, the driver must pay a $125 fee in order to reinstate his / her license. This might not sound too bad at first but think about everything you need transportation for. Not having a reliable source of transportation could affect your job, friends, and family.
Loss of Employment
A DUI could seriously put your current job or your chances of future employment at risk. Many employers are uncomfortable hiring applicants who have a DUI conviction. Even though the actual DUI conviction itself might have nothing to do with the job you are applying for, it could still hurt your chances, if not disqualify you outright. If the job doesn’t disqualify you from the start but it comes down to you and another applicant who are both equally eligible, guess who’s getting the job; the person without the DUI. And if your job or the job you’re applying for requires you to drive a company vehicle that privilege will most definitely be taken away. Years of hard work, studying, and gaining skills and experience could all be worth nothing by getting behind the wheel after you’ve had a few too many.
Background checks are conducted in most workplaces and can put your job in jeopardy, but they are also conducted for many other things. Backgrounds checks can take place when applying for college, financial aid, and scholarships. They are also conducted the majority of the time when applying for housing. Schools and landlords might not completely disqualify you for the conviction right away, but again, if it ever came down to you and another applicant and you had a DUI lingering on your record, you would most likely lose to the other applicant. Just like with a job, you could lose out of the home of your dreams, the education you’ve been working for, or a scholarship.
Higher Insurance Rates
When convicted of a DUI, you are automatically considered a “high-risk” driver by insurance companies. Because of this, you can expect your insurance to increase significantly. Your insurance rates my double or even triple for at least several years. There are some insurance companies that will even terminate your coverage completely.
Jail Time or Probation
In many states, even first-time DUI offenders can be sentenced to time in jail. If the driver is sentenced to probation, they will be under constant supervision for an extended period of time and will receive further consequences for misbehavior. The length of a DUI probation period differs based on the state and the circumstances involved in the drunk-driving charge. The DUI probation period for a misdemeanor offense ranges from three months to one year. For a more serious DUI charge, the probation period may last several years.
In all 50 states, if you had a BAC above .08 you were driving under the influence. Even if you passed the field sobriety tests, if you recorded a .08 BAC or greater you will be found guilty of drunk driving. Tampa’s nightlife can be a great time, but if you decide to get behind the wheel after a night of fun it could truly have life-changing consequences. A DUI conviction doesn’t disappear after a year and you can’t pay to make it go away. It will affect you in several aspects of your life for years to come.
Dram Shop Liability
The Dram Shop Liability Law in Florida that says someone who knowingly serves a person “habitually addicted” to alcohol can be liable for injury or damage caused by or resulting from that person’s drunkenness. This is called “Dram Shop” Liability. These cases are very difficult to prove and are usually lengthy, and a battle. To hold an establishment liable you generally have to prove:
- The establishment sold the person alcohol
- The establishment continued to sell alcohol while the person was drunk
- and sometimes prove, the establishment knew the person was driving
In most jurisdictions, dram shop liability laws extend only to protect third parties, not the drunk driver themselves, for example, a family member or spouse. In a story that is close to home, Max Holloway, 26, a former star football player at Jefferson High School lost control of his Dodge Charger, veered off the road and crashed into a house. Holloway died from his injuries. His parents have filed a lawsuit against Panini’s Bar and Grill in Lutz as they believe the restaurant is to blame. Holloway was a frequent customer; the lawsuit claims employees knew he was addicted to alcohol, but served him anyway.
Know Your Rights
Drunk driving is a serious public safety and health issue, and the problem is on the rise. For victims of drunk drivers, it is important to know that you have rights and are entitled to compensation for the damages you have sustained. If you’ve been hit by a drunk driver, speak to a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options and help you protect your rights.