Stressful. Frightening. Nerve-wracking. Embarrassing. Expensive. The ordeal of a drink driving arrest and legal proceedings produces a variety of negative consequences. A conviction can seem like a relief – albeit a bitter one – because at least, the situation is resolved. But, unfortunately, for people convicted of drink driving, it is not over. The damaging side effects can last long after the magistrate rules on your case.
Motorists who are convicted face driving bans, fines, and imprisonment. Subsequent charges evoke even more severe penalties. In addition, though, drivers face a variety of ancillary consequences, including:
· Increased car insurance costs. Insurers view convicted drivers as a significant risk, and they adjust their premiums accordingly. The average hike in price: 115 per cent.
· Job loss. Obviously, if someone is employed as a driver or is required to operate a vehicle for his or her position, a conviction can result in job loss. Many employers do not require their people to disclose a conviction, but a driving ban can impede employees’ ability to get to work.
· Difficulty in hiring. If a conviction is not spent, it will appear on a Basic Disclosure. This basic background check is a pre-requisite of employment for many organisations.
· Loss of professional standing. Members of professional associations (e.g. the Law Society, General Medical Council) may face disciplinary action, including expulsion.
· Loss of independence. Having a family member or mate bring to work, to the grocery, to doctor or lawyer appointments is often logistically and emotionally difficult for people used to their own independence.
· Trouble entering certain countries, such as the United States. A drink driving conviction can hinder travel.
· Embarrassment. People with convictions face situations regularly in which they are forced to disclose or discuss their legal situation. The shame of this black mark on their record is perhaps one of the longest-lasting consequences.
Legal ramifications are only the beginning for those convicted of drink driving. The best cure is prevention: do not drink and drive. If charged, seek immediate legal counsel.