What Life After a DUI Can Look Like

Written by: Kim Vytell
Last Updated: May 28, 2023

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is an incredibly dangerous move. Not only are your reflexes slower than usual, but your brain is unable to make quick decisions, vastly increasing your chances of having a car accident. If you’re driving under the influence, you are a danger to innocent people on the road. Crashing into them could lead to badly injuring them, or worse, killing people. In fact, 11,654 people [1] died in drunk driving crashes in 2020. That’s one person every 45 minutes! 

And not all fatal car crashes are caused by alcohol consumption. In fact, drugs other than alcohol cause 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. The influence of drugs can cause you to make the same mistakes as you would if you were under the influence of alcohol.. 

Driving motor vehicles while under the influence comes with many consequences if you get caught, or if you’re involved in an accident. If this is the case, you’ll be handed a DUI offense (driving under the influence). Avenues Recovery has helped many patients who have driven under the influence. Join us as we uncover 5 challenges of life after a DUI.  

#1 You May Ruin Someone Else’s Life After a DUI 

Destroying someone's life after a DUI is no joke, explains Avenues Recovery

Did you know that 32 Americans [2] are killed every day in crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver? At the speed that your car is going, even a small fender bender can cause significant damage to one’s soft tissues. Those involved in a car accident are likely to suffer from whiplash or a concussion even if the car crash is relatively minor. And those involved in a serious car crash could end up with significant and irreparable damage to their body. Many could end up disabled if they’re lucky, and dead if they’re not. Getting a DUI can ruin your life or the life of someone else. 

#2. You May Lose Your Job

Some employers enforce a strict mandatory firing policy if employees are to get caught driving under the influence. If your employment contracts specify that a conviction is grounds for firing, you may easily lose your job. Worst of all, you will lose a reference, so you’ll have a difficult time explaining yourself to future employers. In these situations, the employers will usually require you to notify them immediately upon an arrest. Some employers may not even care whether you are convicted or not. An arrest may be sufficient grounds for termination.

With that said, not all jobs are at risk. In most cases, your employment will only be on the line if driving is an important function of the job. For example, if you are a bus driver or a mailman, your employment contract will likely include this clause. Commercial drivers and higher-placed positions, such as lawyers and doctors may also find this clause in their contracts. If you fall under this category, a DUI can affect your life in a big way. 

#3. You May Lose Your Auto Insurance

Avenues Recovery describes how loosing your auto insurance could be a fact in life after a DUI

Many auto insurance policies state that you cannot drive while under the influence. If you are caught intoxicated while behind the wheel, your insurance company may no longer insure you. They may refuse to provide you with any coverage at all if you were driving while impaired. Some insurance companies will continue to refuse service to you for years. This can make living with a DUI incredibly difficult, as you’ll have to say goodbye to your car and rely on public transport instead.

Even if you do end up keeping your insurance, your insurance policy and premiums will skyrocket. You’ll be spending a lot more money each year to receive the same coverage. It’s important to note that you’re not covered in the event that you get into a car accident while under the influence. Even if you have insurance, you will be responsible for paying for all of the costs yourself. If you got into an accident and injured the other party, you can easily go bankrupt from the medical bills that will come your way.

Some states will also automatically suspend your driving license. You won’t be able to drive for several months and you may have to give up your driver’s license entirely. This could become a huge nuisance, especially if you rely on your car to get from one place to another. To get your license back, some states will require you to attend certain driving classes. Other states often require drivers to install ignition interlock devices. 

#4. Financial Penalties of a DUI 

Driving under the influence can be expensive, even if you don’t end up getting into an accident. If you’re caught, a law enforcement officer will write you a ticket. The actual fine amount will differ from state to state. It will also depend on how the officer is feeling. If he’s not feeling lenient or if he’s witnessed some pretty horrible behavior on the road, you could end up paying thousands of dollars. The amount you are fined will also depend on your blood alcohol level. If it is only slightly above the legal limit of 0.08, the police officer will be much more likely to go easier on you. Other types of sobriety tests are administered if the police officers suspect drug use. These field sobriety tests may not always give an accurate diagnosis of the severity of the impairment.

In California, first-time offenders can be fined as much as $1,000. It’s definitely much cheaper to call a taxi or ask a  friend for a ride.  While a DUI can affect your life, it will most likely affect your wallet.

#5. Risk of Imprisonment

Life after a DUI could meal jail says Avenues Recovery

State regulations, rules, and laws differ; however, repeat offenders often find themselves behind bars. Judges are not very sympathetic to those who drink and drive or who use drugs and drive. After all, their actions are putting innocent lives at risk.

For example, in California, it’s possible for first offenders to receive anywhere from 48 hours to six months in jail. Usually, most judges are fairly lenient on first-time offenders and will order probation instead. In these cases, there’s no mandatory jail time. Repeat offenders, however, will face time in jail. Second offenders in California face anywhere from 96 hours to one year in jail. At times, jail time can be served on house arrest or through alternative work programs. It all depends on how lenient the judge is feeling. Those who are caught multiple times will usually be sent to jail immediately. A DUI can affect your life. Incarceration is a serious criminal offense that will leave a major stain on your professional record.

There is Life After a DUI 

There is life after a DUI! Avenues Recovery tells you how

At worst,a DUI can ruin your life. And even if it doesn’t, there’s never a good time to drink and drive or use drugs and drive. 

But, there is life after a DUI. Many drug addicts and alcoholics feel they cannot quit even if they want to, or even after getting caught with a DUI. Avenues Recovery is here to support you, no matter where you stand in your recovery journey. Our compassionate and highly experienced staff members can design a treatment plan that works for you. Contact us 24/7 to reach out for advice or speak with our intake team. You deserve better than a life of addiction. You deserve a future ahead


[1] www.nhtsa.gov

[2] www.cdc.gov

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Kim Vytell, LCADC, LSW, Director of Clinical Development, earned both her BS and MS in social work from Rutgers University and is an EMDR-trained therapist. She recognizes the impact that addiction and trauma have on individuals, and the importance of addressing both in order to live healthy and happy lives. She is dedicated to helping individuals and families who have been affected by the disease of addiction, believing everyone is capable of recovery. Kim is passionate about helping others move beyond their pasts and discover their true selves.

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