Of course, everyone knows that a drunken driving conviction can have a substantial impact on one’s wallet or pocketbook; that’s a given, right? Well, some people know that there can be thousands of dollars hanging in the balance before the final verdict is handed down in municipal court, but that’s not the subject of today’s discussion. Right now, we are talking about the perilous effects that a DWI or drug DUI charge can have on a person’s job, livelihood and even long-term career prospects.
You see, as Garden State DWI-DUI defense attorneys, my colleagues and I know that there are a large number of more obvious consequences following a drunk driving or drug DUI conviction. These can and many times do include community service, license suspension, very stiff fines, and jail time. But these immediate and rather palpable consequences aside, most individuals fail to consider the truly devastating effect that a drunken driving or drug DUI conviction can have on one’s life and future happiness. Many people are simply not aware that they can end up with severe and long-lasting problems involving their job and career — not just now, but in the weeks, months and years following a DWI-DUI conviction.
As drunken driving defense experts, we understand why many normally law-biding citizens end up suffering much more serious personal and professional complications after being convicted of a drug DUI or DWI offense. Many first encounter the collateral effects of a conviction when they find that their job may be at stake for what seemed like an innocent lapse in judgment. Keep in mind that actions often do have consequences and, these days, drinking and driving can often trigger serious repercussions at work.
First, the loss of driving privileges following a DUI or DWI conviction can result in time conflicts with one’s your work schedule. Take, for instance, the loss of one’s driver’s license. Once the state has made it impossible to legally operate a motor vehicle, many previously simple tasks in life become that much more difficult. Consider that which we all take so much for granted — namely the personal independence that owning and operating a private car provides — being taken away so that even driving to work in the morning becomes a logistical nightmare — soliciting friends and family for a lift, coordinating bus and train schedules just to get across town on time — it all becomes a greater challenge than before.
Needless to say, for those unlucky enough to be order to serve jail time, the effects can and will be devastating. But even a sentence of community service can affect one’s work schedule and make it hard to meet other appointments and family or business obligations.
Furthermore, there have been situations where an employer finds out that an employee was convicted of a DWI-DUI offense, after which that person is asked to leave the company or is transferred to a different department or branch office. In the case of those employees whose jobs depend on their ability to drive a motor vehicle, the chances of being let go or demoted could be quite real. Hardly fair, some may think, but these days some companies periodically check employees’ driving records.
A DWI-DUI conviction can truly cause a ripple effect throughout one’s life, which means that future job prospects or advancement opportunities may be impacted. Not only trucking companies are doing background checks on employees and potential new hires. With more people looking for jobs, the pool is usually so large that companies can pick and choose the best candidates, and those without black marks from drunk driving or drug DUI convictions will likely stand out as the better potential prospects.
If you or someone you care about has been convicted of DUI and are concerned about the future effects of that conviction — not to mention whether or not you should notify your employer of the outcome of your drunken driving case — it is wise idea to speak with a qualified attorney. He or she can review your legal rights and obligations. Of course, avoiding a conviction to start with would be the best alternative, which is why we often recommend that people think before indulging themselves too much. Call a cab or enlist a friend to get you home. Not driving after any drinking is the best way to avoid being arrested for DWI.