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How much damage can a DUI or DWAI really do to my life?

Were you recently arrested for driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired? A conviction could have both short- and long-term consequences that could cause irreversible damage to your life. In order to avoid or minimize the effects of a DUI or DWAI conviction, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest.

What are the short-term consequences of a DUI or DWAI conviction?

In the weeks and months that follow a conviction, you could possibly experience the following legal ramifications:

  • Jail time
  • Drunk driving education programs
  • Community service
  • Fines and fees

Depending on the circumstances, the court could impose any combination of these penalties. In many cases, you could receive a suspended driver's license regardless of how the criminal proceedings go. Any or all of these penalties can interfere with your personal and professional lives if even for a short time.

What potentially lifelong consequences are there?

Even if you are able to get past the short-term ramifications of a DUI or DWAI, the rest of your life could be affected by a conviction. You could experience one or more of the following difficulties:

1. You could have your driver's license suspended for an extended time depending on the circumstances, which could prevent you from getting to work. If you drive for a living, you could lose your job. Your personal life could also suffer.

2. Your auto insurance rates will more than likely increase, which could put a strain on your finances.

3. Your job prospects could be limited if a position requires driving. In addition, prospective employers often run background checks on applicants, and they might use a DUI conviction as a deciding factor between you and another comparably qualified applicant.

4. You could compromise your reputation with your family, friends and coworkers.

So what can I do about the charges?

First, hire an attorney. He or she will review the circumstances surrounding the traffic stop and any field sobriety tests and breath tests that were done, along with the blood test done to determine your blood alcohol content. Police are required to adhere to certain laws, policies and procedures surrounding your contact with officers.

If errors are discovered at any point, that supposed evidence - and perhaps any that followed - could be thrown out by the court. Without sufficient evidence, prosecutors will be unable to obtain a conviction, and they could dismiss the charges or you could get an acquittal.

Even if there is enough evidence to support prosecution, other avenues might be available to minimize the consequences of the charges.

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