|Written by Thomas Conroy|
Introduction: While the party is raging and the good times are rolling, few give a thought to the drive home. When the departure time arrives, the individual driving may have lost their inhibitions, as well as most common sense due to the ingestion of alcohol or recreational drugs. The intoxication causes the implications of their actions to go unrecognized, that is, until they become sober again. The unfortunate reality is that too often those individuals reach sobriety inside of a jail, as they come face to face with the horrific deeds performed under the influence.
Step 1: The most obvious manner in which driving under the influence can ruin your life is by obtaining a criminal record. For some driving under the influence, the criminal charges will simply be a driving under the influence charge. Most states penalty for this is a temporary loss of driving privileges, and fine of around $1,500 and a few days in jail. In all, the financial cost for this includes legal fees and amounts to Less than $5,000 total cost. The temporary loss of a driver's license is an inconvenience, and may or may not result in job loss, dependent upon the situation.
Step 2: More serious criminal charges, such as vehicular homicide or a manslaughter charge as the result of a death caused by an individual driving under the influence, can ruin a life even if found innocent. The cost of a legal defense against such charges is staggering, and can exceed $25,000. Additionally bail on such a serious criminal charge may be beyond reach, which means the accused will have to spend considerable time in jail until the court case reaches a conclusion.
In most instances this can mean the loss of employment, and due to local media coverage the accused becomes a societal outcast unable to find new employment. If the court case results in a guilty verdict it can mean years in prison, enormous fines, the loss of all financial assets and even cause divorce. If found innocent, in some states the family of the victims can pursue civil damages, resulting in financial ruin.
Step 3: Perhaps the most unexplored area in which driving under the influence can ruin your life is psychologically. The perpetrators of vehicular crimes are usually not hardened criminals, just everyday people who have made a terrible choice. The realization that their selfish actions have caused serious injury or death to others, particularly children, will weigh on the conscience for life. In the final analysis, this may be the most severe example of how driving under the influence can ruin your life.
Tips: Go beyond how driving under the influence can ruin your life, look at how it will affect those around you.