Being charged with a DUI can turn a night out on the town into a nightmare riddled with worry. Not only do you need to be concerned about a DUI conviction and any fines and jail time you may face, you may wonder how a DUI charge would affect your driver's licensing privilege and your ability to insure your vehicle. Fortunately, there are a few ways to deal with the nightmare of a DUI charge so it doesn't impact you severely in the future. Here's what they are.
Pre-Trial Diversion or Intervention
Most states have what is called pre-trial diversions or interventions, which allow people who are charged with DUIs to plead guilty and avoid a court trial and conviction. In Pennsylvania, this is called an accelerated rehabilitative disposition. These procedures are similar to probations and have requirements that need to be met, such as the use of ignition interlock devices and alcohol avoidance counseling. If the requirements are not met, the case would start over and you will go to criminal court for a possible conviction.
If you successfully complete the requirements, you can then have the case expunged from your records after a period of time required by your state's laws. Until your DUI charge is expunged from your record, you could be at risk of being denied employment or passing background checks for other reasons. You will need to hire a lawyer to expunge the charge from your record.
Ignition Interlock Devices
According to statistics from the United States Census Bureau, roughly 86% of all workers in 2013 commuted to work in private vehicles. Because of the reliance that so many people have on their vehicles, many states have adopted the use of ignition interlock devices for people who are charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Ignition interlock devices allow people who have been charged with DUIs to continue their lifestyles, albeit free of alcohol intoxication while driving. These devices are commonly called "blow-and-go" devices. You breathe into the devices and if your breath is free of alcohol, your vehicle's ignition can be turned on.
In order to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, you will first need to obtain a limited license from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. In most states, this license restricts you to only driving vehicles that have ignition interlock devices. If you own more than one vehicle, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device into each vehicle. If you drive a vehicle that is registered under someone else, you will not be legally allowed to drive that vehicle unless it has an ignition interlock device installed in it.
A DUI can cause your car insurance to skyrocket as you will be seen as a high-risk driver to the insurance company. Your state may require you to obtain a form from your insurance company called an SR-22 before you can get a limited license. If your license will be suspended in full, you will need to obtain an SR-22 before your license will be reinstated in the future.
An SR-22 is proof that you have insurance and maintain it for a period of time required by your state. It's considered an addendum to your existing insurance policy. If you allow your insurance to lapse within that time, the insurance company will be required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles, which will result in a suspended license.
In conclusion, a DUI doesn't mean the end of the world, but it can have lasting effects on your driving privileges if you don't take the proper steps. Speak with a DUI lawyer in your state for more information.