Looking Beyond the Conviction: The Long-Term Consequences of a DUI/DWAI
So many of my cases involve ordinary folks who have made simple mistakes. In other words, my clients usually aren’t career criminals. Most of them have successful careers, family they care for, and great plans for the future. It’s amazing, though, how one run-in with the law can derail someone’s entire life. This is especially true with DUI/DWAI cases, given how common they are. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I’ll generally see a spike in these types of cases over the next few weeks.
A good attorney not only knows about the law and what a client is facing from a legal standpoint but also the impacts that a case can have on all aspects of a client’s life (including not getting that desired invite to next year’s St. Paddy’s party). Read on to learn about some often-forgotten consequences of getting a DUI/DWAI and to garner a few tips from a friendly Colorado criminal defense lawyer.
Impact on Current & Future Employment
Whether it’s a matter of personal preference or absolute need, many people drive themselves to and from work every day. This essential logistical consideration quickly becomes a problem when a DUI/DWAI results in a license revocation. Public transportation isn’t always convenient, carpooling options aren’t always readily available, and ride-sharing services and taxis can get expensive (for some, prohibitively so). And what might be a winnable case in criminal court might not translate to good odds in front of the DMV, which means you could walk away from a DUI/DWAI conviction but still lose your license.
The situation is further complicated for people whose employment depends on their ability to legally operate a motor vehicle. Commercial truck drivers and restaurant delivery drivers can face an uphill battle keeping or finding employment after a DUI/DWAI. And in deciding whether to retain or hire you, an employer might even consider the possibility that the need to drive will arise in the course of your duties. A lifetime ban on reinstating a CDL is a real possibility in some circumstances.
Gossip at the Watercooler & Social Stigmas
Close friends and caring family members won’t view or treat you differently after a DUI/DWAI arrest (aside from doubling down on their support and helping you get treatment). But let’s be honest, how many people do we engage with in the course of any given day who fall into that category? Based on my experience with my DUI/DWAI clients, I’d suggest few. Very, very few.
People talk and word travels fast among some communities and social circles. My clients often work hard to keep the lid on the charge, but it only takes one person (who tells another person who tells another person who group chats it to your entire alumni class). Once the cat is out of the bag, there’s little you can do.
For many clients, secrecy can lead to disastrous consequences. My advice is to be up front about charges you are facing but not to talk about the case too much. Judges also are impressed with clients who have ‘owned up’ to their situation by informing employers, friends, and family about their case. Drawing on a bigger support system is never a bad thing, especially since most DUI/DWAI cases end up with a lengthy period of probation from one to two years.
A Hit to the Old Pocketbook
It will come as little surprise (to even those who haven’t had a DUI/DWAI) that these cases have serious financial implications. Depending on the severity of the offense, on top of the criminal fines, you may face costs stemming from probation expenses, alcohol treatment classes, sobriety testing and monitoring, interlock device installation and upkeep, and auto insurance rate hikes. The financial consequences can be staggering, especially considering the concurrent employment consequences and possible job loss that clients are facing.
Most high-paid attorneys only work for high-paying clients. However, many of us solo/small firm attorneys keep our overhead low by not having staff and running digital/paperless offices. Nicol Gersch Law Offices, LLC is one such firm. I accept reasonable payment plans, take all major credit cards, and go to court for you after only a small down payment. And I offer student/veteran discounts on all my services. What’s more, I charge a flat fee for DUI/DWAI representation and DMV Hearing representation, too. You know exactly what this Colorado DUI attorney will cost you up front! And those billboards that tell you even a first-time DUI will cost $10K? Well, they’re not far off, all things considered, but a good lawyer will help you keep your costs significantly below that mark.
Lost Liberty is a Real Risk
Last—but definitely not least—DUI/DWAI convictions can be accompanied by jail time, especially if you were involved in an accident, had a high BAC at the time of arrest, and/or have prior alcohol- or drug-related convictions. Incarceration is the ultimate consequence and jail time will likely exacerbate any already stressful employment, social, or financial hardships resulting from the DUI/DWAI.
Any Colorado attorney can likely advise you about the mandatory minimum jail for your type of case. But a good Colorado criminal defense lawyer can also advocate for alternative type sentences, such as work release, in-home detention, and even sobriety court programs. These types of jail sentences could mean you keep your job with use of PTO, you don’t suffer huge financial consequences, and you keep your freedom!
Different Clients, Different Consequences: No Two DUI/DWAI Cases are the Same
The Consequences are too Great, Don’t Do Your DUI/DWAI Alone
Having an attorney who understands the variable nature of Colorado DUI/DWAI cases, the potential consequences, and how these consequences may impact individual clients is important. I have years of experience handling these cases at the DA’s office and many more defending them for hard-working Coloradans. If you are facing a DUI/DWAI charge, I’ll work with you to minimize the negative consequences and keep your life on track. Let Justie get Justice for You!
Contact me through my online intake form or by email at email@example.com. Also visit my Facebook page, where you can learn more about my practice and contact me directly through Messenger. Stay safe this St. Patrick’s Day!
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IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not create an attorney-client relationship. It’s a blog post and not legal advice. Each case is different, and this post is meant for generalized knowledge, only. If you haven’t signed an engagement letter (or even received an engagement letter) AND issued some form of payment (peanuts do not count), then no attorney-client relationship exists. Nevertheless, we will do our best to ensure your confidentiality should you choose to contact us privately, but do not post about your case in the comments here (because reaching out for help with your case should be confidential, damn it).
If you have done both of the things mentioned earlier–signed a letter and paid us–then, and only then, you might be a client. But merely chatting with us online does not a client make. Suffice it to say, if you aren’t absolutely certain about whether or not an attorney-client relationship exists between yourself and NLO, you should probably ask for some clarity. Until then, we’ll keep your secrets but we don’t formally represent you… YET.