Consequences of Driving While Intoxicated

Consequences of Driving While Intoxicated

Every person who is of sound mind knows the dangers of driving while intoxicated with alcohol or other drugs. An impaired mind’s judgment is illogical, poor, and has a slower reaction time to emergency situations.

This is precisely why you should never get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol or using any other intoxicating drug. In fact, some prescription medicines require you to avoid operating heavy machinery due to their mind impairment abilities.

Yet, tens of thousands of people die in alcohol-related crashes every year. The most sobering fact is that 15% of these accidents involve consumption that is under the legal limit: 0.08% concentration of alcohol in the blood. The consequences of driving while impaired not only affects the perpetrator, but also other innocent road users.

Injuries and Fatalities

An intoxicated mind makes poor decisions. This is why drunk drivers often speed and engage in other forms of reckless road behaviors.

Tailgating, sudden switching of lanes, running stop signs, and distracted driving are some of the unsafe behaviors that cause road accidents among impaired drivers. The resulting injuries can cause months of hospital stay, long-term disabilities, and even wrongful death to you or other victims.

Financial Loss

All personal injuries come with unanticipated expenses, and it’s even worse if you are the party at fault.

Should you cause an accident while driving under the influence, the law requires you to compensate all parties involved an amount that is equal to the total damages. If you’ve been injured by an intoxicated driver, an NYC car accident lawyer can help you recover compensation.

There are also other personal expenses such as car repairs, medical bills, court fees, and fines that you may receive as a punishment. While your insurance company is responsible for bills such as compensation, your premiums are likely to hike after this and might remain so for a long time.

Criminal Record

Drunk driving is considered a serious crime by both state and federal laws. If you are arrested and charged with a DUI, you will automatically get a criminal record, which is visible to anyone performing a background search on you. This can affect your future employment opportunities, programs you can join, schools, and so on.

A DUI attorney can help you seal this criminal record, but successful cases are low and will depend on the nature of your DUI. 

Possible Jail Time

Besides having a criminal record, being convicted with a DUI can land you in jail. A DUI is considered either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of the arrest.

Some of the reasons that may aggravate your charges to a felony include the presence of a child in the car, causing injuries or wrongful death, reckless driving behaviors, a high BAC, and having prior convictions.  

Suspension of Your Driver’s License

Another way that the law can punish you for driving while intoxicated is by suspending your driver’s license. Normally, the department of motor vehicles (DMV) places an administrative suspension on your license for a period starting from three months, depending on your resident state. This period can be painstakingly longer for people with prior suspensions.

To get your license back, you’ll have to complete the suspension period and probably attend a traffic school.

Court-Mandated Treatment Programs

Some states will require you to attend a compulsory addiction treatment program before getting your license back. First, the driver will meet with a specified counselor to determine if they have a drinking problem.

If so, the court will refer them to a treatment program that includes medical detox, local support groups, and alcohol recovery counseling.