Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DUI Convictions - Three Hidden Penalties For DUI Convictions

There are a lot of reasons that driving under the influence (DUI) is a bad idea. And, there are some hidden penalties that most people don't think about that are pretty harsh.

Most people are unaware of any penalties for DUI beyond jail, probation, loss of drivers licenses and fines. But here are some consequences that you probably haven't considered.

1. Career penalties

Many companies do a background check before hiring a new employee. It might not matter that you graduated at the top of your class. That one DUI mistake might cost you your dream job, and will likely affect ALL your job prospects for at least ten years.

Also, many companies have company cars and trucks. In my insurance claims industry, many claims adjusters are provided company cars with expenses paid. But if you've had a DUI, you can forget driving the company vehicles. That might cost you your job.

That career loss might cause you to have...

2. Budget penalties

Your insurance premiums will skyrocket...that is, if the insurance company doesn't just cancel your policy. But some high risk company will insure you. Then, once you have high premiums, they will likely stay that way for 3-5 years. They could affect your rates for as much as 10 years.

You may not be able to afford the insurance premiums to drive you car. I've seen young drivers with a clean record and full coverage pay $350 per month for insurance. My son spends $170 per month on a 12-year-old Volkswagen with only liability coverage. What if your insurance premium becomes more than your car payment? What will you do?

If you're married, and there is more than one car in the family, you will be rated on your spouse's car also. That might make that car unaffordable also.

3. Travel

You might have a desire to see the world. You may be a person born in another country and immigrated to America. But if you have a DUI conviction here in the USA, you may not be able to travel at all, or your travel will be severely restricted.

Nearly every country considers any type of criminal conviction a primary reason to refuse entry into their country. Most all DUI convictions are misdemeanors unless there is a death, or if you are a repeat offender. Those are felonies. Some nations only have restrictions on felonies, but some restrict ALL crime. Some nations may place a restriction on the number of visits due to a DUI conviction. The decision is entirely at their discretion.

If you wanted to travel outside the USA after getting a DUI conviction, you would have to hire an immigration attorney to appeal for you, which could cost you many hundreds of dollars with no guarantee of success.

Let's finish with a philosophical argument against laws that penalize a person who is driving after drinking alcohol.

Criminal law says that if you drink alcohol and drive a car, you are committing a crime. But if a person who has consumed alcohol gets in his car and drives, and does not injure another person or cause damage to any property, and reaches his destination, no actual physical negligence has occurred. Just the mere presence of alcohol in his bloodstream should not constitute a crime.

Why should it be unlawful to ingest a food product, even if that food product affects your ability to drive safely? Many other things can be ingested by people that alters their ability to drive, and there are no laws against them. If you smoke marijuana and drive, no crime. Even if you fall asleep while driving, most jurisdictions do not have criminal statutes against sleepiness. Prescription drugs can alter driving ability, but no crime is assessed.

However, negligence is usually not hard to prove. Negligence is a completely different act, and drinking alcohol is not negligent. Human acts that flow from drinking can be negligent, but drinking alcohol is not negligent.

That's why I believe that DUI laws are wrong. Enforce criminal negligence, but not alcohol consumption.

Having said all that...the LAW is what the law is. Disagreeing with it won't keep you out of jail. Obey the law and lobby for the law to change.

Now, I'd like to offer you two special reports at no cost. One is "5 Things To Do When Shopping For Car Insurance," and the other is "5 Things To Avoid When Shopping For Car Insurance." Each one is a $9.95 value, but free to you when you sign up for my newsletter at the website address below.

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