Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) in Arizona can have consequences that remain with you for life. Arizona takes drunk driving crimes very seriously, with severe punishments and harsh sentences. A DUI conviction can have a ripple effect on your job, professional licensure, constitutional rights and many other aspects of life.
A Criminal Record
Getting a DUI in Arizona will give you a criminal record that can be viewed by employers, landlords, schools, law enforcement and the general public. The average DUI conviction remains on an individual’s criminal record for seven years. In this time, you may have trouble getting a job or qualifying for housing. In addition, if you get into subsequent legal trouble while a DUI is still on your record, you can face more severe penalties as a repeat offender.
The Loss of Your Job
Employers in Arizona tend to look at job applicants with DUI records unfavorably. Some jobs do not allow workers to have DUI records, such as commercial motor vehicle drivers, delivery drivers, Uber and Lyft drivers, teachers, and medical professionals. If you possess one of these jobs at the time of your DUI conviction, you may be terminated. If you attempt to apply for one of these positions after being convicted, the employer may conduct a background check and choose not to hire you based on your criminal record.
Ineligibility for Professional Licenses
A DUI conviction can interfere with your ability to obtain and retain certain professional licenses. The state licensing board in Arizona will investigate to find out if you are guilty of unprofessional conduct, such as convictions that are substantially related to the job or profession. With a DUI on your record, your professional licenses can be suspended or revoked entirely. This includes a commercial driver’s license, pilot’s license, contractor’s license, real estate license, and medical or dental license. This could lead to the loss of your job or the inability to enter a new profession.
Higher Car Insurance Premiums
Car insurance companies charge higher premiums for drivers with DUIs, as they are viewed as higher-risk clients. With a DUI conviction, you will be required to obtain high-risk or nonstandard car insurance known as an SR-22 certificate for a much higher cost (typically, about double the normal cost of insurance). This requirement can last for a few years after your conviction. You will also be subject to the out-of-pocket costs associated with installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which includes a monthly maintenance fee.
Felony DUI Ramifications
Some DUI offenses in Arizona are charged as aggravated felonies. This could be the case if you had a child under the age of 15 in the car, are a repeat DUI offender, were driving on a suspended or revoked license, or caused a serious car accident. A felony DUI can remain on your criminal record for life. As a convicted felon, you will have to deal with ramifications such as the loss of your right to vote, join the military, run for office and bear arms. You may also be ineligible for certain jobs – particularly, a career involving driving.
How to Protect Yourself From a DUI Conviction
It is better to avoid a DUI conviction to begin with than to try to piece your life back together after being found guilty. This criminal conviction can have significant consequences on many aspects of your life and future. The best way to protect yourself is by hiring a skilled and experienced DUI defense attorney in Scottsdale as soon as possible upon your arrest. Your attorney can craft a suitable defense strategy to fight a DUI charge or have the penalties reduced. An attorney can also guide you through post-conviction remedies, such as having your record cleared, expunged or set aside.