If you are arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in South Carolina, you may just expect to pay a fine. But, it is not as straightforward as that. A DUI can have ramifications on your life and your career. Below, we discuss the consequences of a DUI.
- The Consequences of a DUI in Columbia on Your Job
Besides the privilege of driving, a DUI conviction, or guilty plea, could result in other problems for your job. What will your boss do when he or she discovers that you have been arrested and convicted for Driving Under the Influence? There are many jobs that require workers to have a clean driving record for the sake of the company’s insurance cover.
Further, the consequences of a DUI conviction is that on your records there show a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by either up to 30 days in prison or a fine. There are many businesses that conduct annual renewal reviews of their employees for employment and insurance reasons. When such a conviction appears on your record, you could not only raise the employer’s premiums and affect their chances of coverage; you may also be kept from performing your necessary work duties.
- Limitations of Loss of Driving Privilege
Many of us depend on our licenses to earn a living or get to and from school or college. The limitation or loss of your license could extend beyond a fine or time in jail and result in the loss of your job or livelihood if you are unable to operate a vehicle due to your DUI charge in South Carolina. This is also among the many consequences of a DUI.
Not only can the charge affect your employer’s insurance coverage, but your coverage, too. If you are convicted or a DUI or plead guilty, you will need to obtain SR-22 insurance, demonstrate proof of attending an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP), and then you may be eligible for a route-restricted license. The route restricted license limits driving privileges to only driving to and from school or work, and also to your ADSAP classes.
- The Impact of a DUI on Education
If you are a college or high school student applying for an education loan, the loan applications have a section that is designated for criminal records and school disciplinary issues. Any alcohol-related convictions could prejudice your chances of tuition and acceptance.
Under South Carolina rules, students that have been convicted or pled guilty to a DUI offense are not eligible for scholarships for a year after the conviction or guilty plea. A DUI conviction becomes part of your permanent arrest record and cannot be expunged. Also, it remains part of your driving record for up to ten years. This among the various consequences of a DUI.
- DUI and Future Offenses
Under South Carolina Code 56-5-2930(A)(2), a second DUI conviction is considered a felony offense that carries a fine of $2,100 and up to five days in jail at a minimum. If you have already pleaded guilty to a DUI previously, it would have been viewed as a misdemeanor. A subsequent conviction makes you a felon, and as a result, you could lose your ability to work and vote. One could say this is one of the more severe consequences of a DUI.
A second DUI conviction also results in another strike against your driving record, and if you receive three DUI convictions within three years, you fall into the Habitual Offender category. With a Habitual Offender status, you will lose your driving privilege for five years. After two years, you may appeal, but you will not have access to driving privileges for the first two years whatsoever.
A habitual offender, under South Carolina, code, is any person whose record, as kept by the Department of Motor Vehicles, shows that he or she has accumulated convictions for distinct and different offenses and committed one or more of the following in a three-year period:
- Reckless driving
- Driving under suspension
- Driving without insurance
- Driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration or driving under the influence
- Involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, reckless homicide
- A Permanent Record for Driving Under the Influence
If you were convicted of, or plead guilty to, a DUI a decade ago and you apply for a job transfer or promotion, and the potential or current employer asks you to submit a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division background check, and you refuse to do so, you are not likely to get the job or the promotion. With DUIs, your potentially long-forgotten past can come back to haunt you later on with the loss of a potential job or career growth. The job market is a competitive one, and a candidate applying for the same position as you who does not have a criminal record will have the upper hand.
Also, consider this: you paid a great deal of money for your degree so that you could get a job and earn a living. If, for example, you graduated in the legal or medical fields, or any other licensing profession, you could have an application that is presented before a committee to decide your fitness and character in order for you to practice your professions. An old DUI conviction could halt your dreams. This is one of the most devastating consequences for a DUI.
While many people are not going to apply for political office or take up a post with any state affiliated board of directors, these are also positions that require completely clean backgrounds. If you have a past conviction, and even if you are honest about it, it could still keep you out of public office.
Don’t Let a DUI Have Long-Term Consequences on Your Livelihood
To avoid a charge of Driving Under the Influence in South Carolina, make sure you always operate your vehicle responsibly and do not drink and drive. A simple mistake can impact your livelihood years down the road. If you do find yourself faced with a DUI charge, it is important to consult The Jeffcoat Firm; you will find a seasoned attorney to represent you and fight for your rights.
Mr. Jeffcoat, a native of the Columbia area, founded the law firm in 1999. Mr. Jeffcoat got his undergraduate degree at Wofford College in 1994, majoring in Political Economy and Philosophy, and then went to the University of South Carolina School of Law, where he received his J.D. in 1997. After working in two law firms following his graduation from law school, Jeffcoat ventured out on his own to launch The Jeffcoat Firm in March of 1999.