No one wants one mistake to impact the rest of their life. However, drivers should know that, typically, a DUI charge remains on your record with some permanency, and carries long lasting effects to your future.
Consequences of a DUI Charge
Aside from the obvious fine, driving under the influence comes with several other consequences. A DUI appears on your driving record for at least five to ten years, though some states mark your record for life. Driving records that possess DUI charges cause issues in several different ways.
- An Increase in Insurance – Your insurance premium will rise. Driving under the influence is proof to your insurance company that you are not a responsible driver.
- SR-22 – The SR-22 is a special insurance form that you must submit to the state. It includes liability insurance in the event that you partake in unsafe driving habits again.
- Difficulty Finding Employment – Depending on your field of choice, many employers express biased opinions toward potential employees with a DUI on their record. A DUI charge can imply that you are not responsible, reliable, and/or do not take part in safe personal activities outside of work.
- The Black Mark – The black mark is a designation on your criminal record, if you have one, indicating that you were charged with DUI. This results in additional fines and/or jail time. Additionally, a black mark stays on your criminal record for life.
How Does a Driving Record Work?
Many states’ departments of motor vehicles (DMV) operate on a point system to keep track of your driving habits. All forms of traffic violations result in the DMV adding one point to your record. If you accumulate enough points, the DMV will suspend your license. An insurance company can access your driving record – they use this information to decide how high your rate will be. Some states do not count DUI charges as a point. Some charge multiple points, while other states immediately suspend your license.
Can I Fight a DUI Charge?
It is possible to fight a DUI charge, but you will need the help of an experienced attorney. Several external variables and extenuating circumstances could help you clear a charge – if you have evidence.
- The Traffic Stop – Ask yourself why an officer pulled you over. A police officer must have reasonable suspicion to stop any citizen in their car, parked or driving. If the officer did not have reasonable suspicion, any exchange that took place after they approached your car is null. This includes field sobriety and breathalyzer tests.
- The Field Sobriety Test – You can challenge the validity of a field sobriety test. Human error could cause fault in the administration of the test. Some potential faults include giving the test on uneven pavement, taking the test in unsuitable footwear, and a lack of instruction on the officer’s part. These variables could easily cause hiccups in the testing process.
- Breathalyzer Maintenance – Questioning the maintenance of the breathalyzer that the officer used is one method of challenging a DUI charge. An attorney often does this in an attempt to get the breathalyzer reading dismissed as evidence. If the breathalyzer was the only test conducted, this would theoretically result in the court dismissing the DUI charge completely.
- You Were Not Driving – This option is only available for those found in sitting in, or near, a car without actively driving it or at the scene of an accident involving a car. You can make the case that you did not drive the car, first if you did not previously admit that you were the driver. Second, it requires proof that you drove the car at all while under the influence. The prosecutor must then find evidence to challenge this claim.
It is extremely difficult to fight a DUI charge, and impossible for you to remove one from your driving record. Driving under the influence puts a dent in your driving record that could result in license suspension immediately, or soon down the line. Ultimately, it is safer and smarter to drive responsibly.