A DUI is a very serious offense and carries severe penalties. The penalties for driving under the influence may include:
- Heavy fines
- A suspended or revoked license
- Jail time
- Community service
- Increased insurance premiums
In Michigan, a person who is convicted of three drunk driving offenses is charged with a felony. Also, causing serious injury or death of another person while driving under the influence will be charged as a felony, even if it is the first offense. Penalties for a felony conviction are much more serious, and you may lose many rights and freedoms as a result.
Long-Term Consequences of a DUI Conviction
In addition to judicial sanctions and driver’s license sanctions, a DUI conviction (also known as OWI, or operating while intoxicated) can affect many aspects of your life. Some states allow DUI convictions to be expunged after the person has completed all probation requirements. However, this is not true in Michigan. The law prohibits a person from attempting to have it expunged and also that prohibits a judge from completing such an expungement. This means that the conviction will always show up on background checks.
College admissions have become increasingly competitive, and institutions can choose the best candidates. Even if you have good grades, you may be denied admission because of a DUI conviction on your record. If you do gain admission to your chosen school, it may be a different experience than you expected. Depending on the school, if you have a drunk driving conviction, you may lose scholarships, financial aid, student housing, participation in athletics or other school privileges such as library use.
If you are involved in a custody dispute over your minor children, a drunk driving conviction may impact your custody or visitation rights. A DUI arrest will probably be used against you in family court during a disputed custody or visitation matter. A parent who is caught driving under the influence with a child in the vehicle is usually considered to have put the child’s safety and well being at risk. Even if the child was not in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, the family law court may get involved and conduct further investigations into the parent’s suitability.
When you fill out a job application, you will have to check the “yes” box for convictions. A drunk driving conviction may make you ineligible for certain types of employment. You may be denied admission to medical school or some of the other licensed professions, including an attorney. In fact, attorneys are required to report even a first DUI offense to the State Bar Association. You may not be considered for certain jobs, for example, careers in law enforcement. If you are presently employed, you may be passed over for promotion or even result in termination.
Pursuant to civil service rule 2-6.5 a Michigan “Civil Servant,” such as a government official or civil service employee, convicted of Drunk Driving can be suspended for “conduct unbecoming a state employee.”
You may be denied a security clearance, which is required by some types of employment. Many people, such as military personnel, government employees, and government contractors, need access to certain classified information in order to perform their jobs. Security clearances are issued by the federal government so that the necessary people can access this information. A DUI conviction is not an automatic bar but may have an impact.
During and after a drunk driving conviction, you will not be able to enter the military. If your conviction is a misdemeanor first offense, you may be able to enter military service after completing your court-mandated conditions. In order to do this, you must obtain a Judgment of Sentence, which lists the charges, disposition, and fulfilled conditions and provide it to your recruiter.
Concealed Weapons Permits
If you have a right to carry a weapon, you may be unable to keep your permit after a drunk driving conviction.
Some insurance companies will deny your disability claim for five years after a DUI conviction.
Commercial Driver License (CDL) Issues
Michigan law provides that if you are convicted of a DUI, even while driving your own vehicle, your CDL rights will be suspended for one year. If your job requires a CDL, the drunk driving conviction may affect your employment.
Travel restrictions are often a condition of your bond. Therefore, you may not be able to leave the state without the court’s permission while your case is pending.
Immigration is a complex area of law. You should consult an immigration law specialist before leaving the United States. In some cases, immigrants have been refused reentry into the United States.
Travel to Canada, which is particularly common in Michigan, will be a problem after a conviction. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that a person convicted of a crime may be unable to enter Canada to work, visit, or immigrate. However, this prohibition is discretionary. Crimes are divided into two categories: indictable crimes and summary conviction crimes. A Michigan OWI is considered an indictable crime, and therefore more serious. Someone convicted of an indictable crime may still be able to enter Canada if they can prove they have been rehabilitated.
Even if you have won your DUI criminal case, you may be faced with a civil lawsuit. If you plead guilty to a drunk driving offense, the injured party may file a civil lawsuit, particularly if the drunk driving incident resulted in an accident, personal injury, death, or property damage.
The Benefits of Legal Representation
If you have been charged with drunk driving, you need to speak with a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. Most people who are dealing with a DUI charge are concerned with the possibility of fines, suspensions, or jail. But often the collateral consequences are just as serious in the long-term. You should discuss all of the possible consequences with your attorney. An experienced Michigan defense attorney can investigate the circumstances of your case and advise you of your options.