Over the past several decades, the laws regulating driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) have become significantly stricter.1 In addition, anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that law enforcement enforces these laws much more strictly than they did in prior years. While the merits of these developments continue to be debated, DUI continues to be one of the most common criminal offenses in the United States, and is in many cases a person’s first contact with the criminal justice system.
It is important to remember that drunk driving is a criminal offense, with all of the potential legal consequences that accompany other, less-common crimes. As a result, it is extremely important that anyone accused of DUI retain qualified legal counsel as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with an attorney at The Zeiger Firm, call our office today at (215) 825-5183.
What are collateral consequences?
Most drivers are aware of the fact that a DUI conviction can result in significant criminal penalties, including fines, probation, mandatory drug or alcohol counseling, and even jail time. It may come as a surprise to some, however, that there are other potential consequences that are not imposed by any court that can be just as serious. Termed “collateral consequences,” these penalties often occur as a result of the existence of a criminal record that in many cases available for viewing the public.2 Some of the collateral consequences that can be the result of a DUI conviction include:
- Exclusion from certain types of employment – Many employers request that applicants undergo a background check as a condition of employment. In some cases, the presence of a DUI conviction on his or her record may bar an applicant from employment, particularly if the position involves driving a vehicle. Even a DUI does not automatically disqualify an applicant from the position, it will certainly not be viewed as a positive attribute.
- Difficulty obtaining a professional license – Many regulated professions require that their members disclose any past criminal convictions to the licensing authority. Depending on the circumstances, a DUI may present a hurdle to obtaining a professional license or at least be ground for further inquiry regarding whether an applicant has an issue with drugs or alcohol.
- Damage to your reputation in the community – The internet has made publicly available information more accessible than ever. Court filings are a matter of public record, and a DUI conviction could easily be discovered by anyone with a computer or even a smartphone.
- Disciplinary action imposed by an educational institution –Many educational institutions have student codes of conduct that prohibit engaging in illegal conduct or using drugs or alcohol. A DUI conviction may result in additional sanctions being taken by your school. These sanctions could include suspension, expulsion, or the loss of a scholarship.
Contact a Philadelphia DUI defense lawyer today to schedule a free consultation
Anyone facing allegations of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the Philadelphia area should discuss their options with an attorney as soon as possible. Call The Zeiger Firm today to schedule your free consultation at (215) 825-5183.