Effects a DUI Can Have on Your License

by kdhewatt on September 27, 2012

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(US criminal law) Being convicted of a DUI comes with many consequences, but one of the most overlooked is the effect a DUI conviction can have on your driver’s license. From the loss of driving privileges to points being added onto your license and more, being convicted of a DUI can truly wreak havoc on your ability to enjoy your vehicle for life.

Loss of Your Driver’s License

One of the most common penalties for DUI is the loss of a driver’s license for a predetermined period of time. In most states, even before you are convicted, your driver’s license can be temporarily suspended pending your trial. If convicted in court, you may then lose your driving privileges for a period of months or even years, depending upon the circumstances surrounding your case. If you have been convicted of multiple DUIs within a specified time period, some states may even revoke your driving privileges for life.

Points Added onto Your Driver’s License

Like virtually all other traffic infractions, a DUI could mean points being added onto your driver’s license. Most states have a points system in place for driving offenses, and once a driver receives too many points on their license due to traffic violations, they may face penalties, including the suspension of their driving privileges. Having too many points on your license can also affect your insurance premium costs and other vehicle-related expenses.

Lifelong Labeling

In most cases, a DUI conviction will also mean that you will have to have a special mark or notation placed on your driver’s license that denotes your prior DUI offense or offenses. This mark may be on the front or back of your license, and in virtually all cases, it will stay there for life. Having this label on your license is meant to identify you easily to law enforcement, but it may also bring great shame and embarrassment when you need to provide your license to others.

If You’ve Been Arrested

As a result of these harsh potential consequences, it’s important to protect yourself if you’ve been arrested and charged with a DUI, and one of the best ways to protect yourself in these cases is to partner with a criminal defense attorney. They are attorneys who specialize in DUI cases and will often have special knowledge as well as experience in investigating DUI-related arrests and criminal charges. Having this experience can mean the difference between being convicted and being found innocent. According to our car accident lawyer in Charleston, a criminal defense attorney can examine all aspects of your case, including how your arrest was conducted, whether the testing equipment used against you was calibrated correctly and more.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you can avoid a DUI entirely simply by not drinking and driving. If you’re planning to go out and drink, always have a plan to get home safely. This may mean bringing along a designated driver, or it may mean using a taxi cab or public transportation. If you have been out drinking and you realize you’ve had too much to drive, call a friend or family member to come and pick you up. Whatever you do, don’t get behind the wheel. Remember, if you drink and drive, it may be the last time you drive your vehicle for a very long time.

Katie Hewatt is a legal researcher and contributing author for Howell & Christmas, a car accident lawyer in Charleston who are also criminal defense attorneys experienced in DUI defense. Under new laws in South Carolina, DUI penalties can increase according to the blood alcohol content of the DUI offender; therefore, hiring an experienced lawyer is more important now than ever.




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