In recent decades a concerted effort has been made across the country to raise awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving. As part of that campaign, most states have also strengthened their driving under the influence (DUI) laws as well as increased the judicial penalties for violating those laws. The State of Nebraska is one of those states. The judicial penalties you face for even a first time DUI conviction in Nebraska are worthy of concern; however, for many defendants the “other” consequences of a DUI conviction are even more worrisome. If you have been charged with a DUI in Nebraska you need to know what those other, noon-judicial, consequences are so you can truly understand what a DUI conviction may cost you.
Judicial Consequences of a DUI Conviction
Like most people, when you think of potential penalties for a DUI conviction you probably think in terms of the sentence handed down by the court. In other words, the “judicial” consequences of a conviction. Those consequences may include things such as:
- A term of imprisonment
- A term of probation
- License revocation
- Alcohol evaluation and treatment
- Community service work
- Installation of an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Court costs
What Are Non-Judicial Consequences?
What you may not consider when you think about the consequences of a DUI conviction are the “non-judicial” consequences. Non-judicial consequences are things that occur as a direct, or even indirect, result of the conviction but that are not ordered by the court. Although the list of non-judicial consequences that follow a DUI conviction is practically endless, and the consequences you face will not be the same as someone else, there are some common “other,” or non-judicial, consequences of a DUI conviction that many defendants face, including:
- Lost employment opportunities – in today’s competitive employment market, where background checks are routinely required for even employment in fast food, a criminal conviction for anything can be damaging to your chances of getting a job. Worse still, a conviction for an alcohol related criminal offense, such as a DUI, can automatically disqualify you for many positions.
- Increased insurance rates – a DUI conviction will raise your insurance rates. Exactly how much they will be increased, and for how long, depends on your insurance carrier and your previous driving history. In most cases, however, you can count on increased rates for several years and a substantial increase.
- Professional discipline – if you hold a professional license, such as a Certified Public Accountant, Registered Nurse, attorney, teacher, or real estate agent, you may face disciplinary action for a DUI conviction. You could even lose your license as a result of a DUI conviction.
- Immigration ramifications – if you are not currently a citizen of the United States, a criminal conviction could prevent you from becoming one and/or keep you from being approved for any other change of status regarding your immigration status in the U.S.
- Custody and visitation – if you are currently in the process of a divorce, a DUI conviction could seriously harm your chance of gaining custody of your minor children. A DUI conviction could also be the basis for an argument by an ex-spouse for supervised visitation with your minor children.
Avoiding a DUI Conviction
People often make the mistake of not taking a DUI charge seriously. Operating under the mistaken belief that a first time DUI conviction isn’t anything to worry about, they frequently accept the initial plea offered by the prosecuting attorney as long as it doesn’t include any jail time. Their mistake is focusing solely on the judicial penalties imposed by the court instead of considering all the consequences of pleading guilty to a DUI. If you are currently facing DUI charges, do not make this mistake. Take the time to consult with an experienced Nebraska DUI defense attorney. In addition, consider the other consequences of a DUI conviction and how those consequences may negatively impact your life now and in the future before you even consider accepting a guilty plea.