There's no doubt about it—people make mistakes. Some mistakes, however, can cause what seems like a never-ending, gloomy downward spiral that begins in a state of oblivion and wreaks havoc on the person's job stability... like getting pulled over one night while intoxicated from alcohol. If you have been pulled over and charged with a DUI recently, you may be wondering about what happened that fateful night and questions about your future job security, especially since a DUI conviction can be expensive. Here's what you need to know.
The night you were charged with a DUI
You may have very little, if any, recollection of everything happened that night, which isn't surprising since you were intoxicated when you were pulled over. First, you obviously had to be pulled over by a law enforcement officer, who probably had you take a field sobriety test. When the officer realized that you were drunk, he or she put you into the police cruiser and drove to the police station where you were given a breathalyzer.
Failure of the breathalyzer resulted in being booked and placed in a cell so you could sober up a bit before your arraignment. The arraignment is when you were taken to a room and made to stand in front of a judge who told you what charges were brought against you. You were given the opportunity to say if you were guilty, not guilty, or if you did not contest the charges. You may have posted bail to get out of the holding cell, or you called a bondsman to post a bail bond for you.
When released from the cell, you would've been instructed on how to get your car out of the impound lot, which likely meant that you had to pay a cash fee since many facilities of this nature do not accept checks or take credit cards. Of course, before you were able to drive away, depending on the initial breathalyzer results, you may have been required to take another breathalyzer to ensure that you had sobered up before they allowed you to drive your vehicle.
What to expect in the future regarding employment
When you got home, you probably sat in a daze and wondered how badly this DUI will affect your future. Of course, you'll need to return to court, regardless of what plea you entered. While it's not a requirement to to be legally represented, it's definitely a good idea to work with a DUI lawyer. Even if you pleaded guilty, a lawyer may be able to get the sentence reduced, which can be beneficial if you are at risk of losing your job either from needing to drive for work or drive to work.
You'll get a letter in the mail from your state's driver's licensing authority, which will explain to you what you will need to do to reinstate your driving privileges. Many states have adopted the use of ignition interlock devices as a way to enable people to continue driving—safely—following a DUI. This is particularly important if you need to be able to drive yourself back and forth to work. The ignition interlock device can only be installed on your personal vehicle. It cannot be installed on company vehicles.
One primary concern is whether or not a DUI conviction will cause you to lose your job or prevent you from securing jobs in the future. Obviously, your job will be affected if you drive for a living, especially if you have a CDL. Otherwise, your employer and/or future employers may not know about the DUI unless you are asked about it specifically. For example, if you fill out an application and it asks if you have ever had a misdemeanor. In most states, a first-time DUI is a misdemeanor offense. Most often, employment applications ask only about felonies.