Getting a DUI or DWI affects more than your insurance rates. It can destroy your career. Believe it or not, many employers now do extensive background checks to sift through the riff-raff. So, before you go out this weekend to party, here are 5 ways you can kill your career by getting caught drunk on the road.
1. You Might Lose Your Insurance
Some insurance companies cancel insurance policies over drunk driving convictions. Sometimes, you don’t even need a conviction. A simple arrest will do the job. According to Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst with Insure.com, a DUI conviction might increase your rates up to 200%. So, even if your insurance doesn’t get canceled, you might not be able to afford the new premiums come renewal.
Fortunately, every state has a “high risk insurance pool.” This “pool” is full of drivers who have had prior convictions for various driving offenses. How the pool operates largely depends on the state where you live. In general, however, states require all insurance companies to participate in the pools. Of course, insurers offset the high risk by charging you more for insurance.
If you land in one of these pools, you’ll only be eligible for the state’s minimum liability coverage. You won’t get any discounts either. How do you get out? In a word: time. You must wait until your driving record improves.
2. Your Professional License Might Be Revoked
Some professions don’t allow convictions like DUI or DWI on record. If you’re a lawyer, nurse, doctor, tradesman of any kind (carpenter, plumber, electrician), you may be barred from your profession or put on temporary suspension. Of course, if you lose your license (or if it’s suspended), you’re out of a job.
3. Your Education Might Suffer
Most colleges and universities ask about past convictions. When you fill out financial aid forms, you’ll also be asked about things like DUI/DWI convictions. If you have one, you may have to prove you’ve undergone a treatment program. If you can’t (or won’t), then you might lose your scholarship, grant, loan, or the college might flat-out reject your application.
4. You Might Lose Your Commercial Driver’s License
A DUI or DWI will show up on your commercial or CDL license for up to 55 years. The penalty is more harsh for commercial licenses because of the nature of the job. Most commercial drivers are hauling heavy or potentially dangerous loads. If you’re a commercial driver, your career is probably over.
5. You’ll Miss Work
You can’t get out of going to court. Some states or counties also impose minimum jail time in addition to probation for first-time offenders. If this causes you to miss an excessive amount of time at work, it’s up to you to explain to your boss what happened. Not only is it embarrassing, your employer may not want to retain an irresponsible employee. Also, you’ll have to hire a lawyer to help you sort out your new legal problems.
There are a few things you can do to stay out of trouble while still having fun. First, buy a personal breathalyzer (and use it before you get in your car to head home). According to The Wire Cutter, the BACtrack S80 Pro is the most reliable and best approximates what police use to assess your blood alcohol content. If you blow higher than the legal limit, call a cab.
If you don’t have a personal breathalyzer, always call a ride-sharing service or cab to get home safely. Come back in the morning to pick up your vehicle. The risk just isn’t worth it.