Arizona is known across the country as one of the toughest states on drunk driving. Penalties for a DUI conviction include mandatory jail time, heavy fines, required alcohol screening/education/treatment, automatic driver’s license suspension and mandatory installation at your expense of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
The costs of those penalties in both personal and financial terms are heavy, but those costs are not the only ones to pay after an Arizona DUI arrest and conviction. There are hidden costs as well, including the following:
- Employment: a drunk driving conviction goes onto your criminal record. Employers today are more likely than ever to do a background check, especially for high-profile and well-paying positions. In many situations, a DUI will eliminate an otherwise qualified candidate from job consideration. For jobs involving driving, an employer will almost certainly check an applicant’s driving record. For those already employed as a driver, a conviction can mean the loss of your job.
- Another employment consideration: there can be obvious conflicts with jobs and jail time and court dates.
- Driving safety: the ignition interlock devices mandated by Arizona law for DUI convictions regularly require drivers to do retests after a trip is underway. These “rolling retests” are enormous distractions that put drivers at risk of causing a motor vehicle crash that results in injuries to you and others.
- Car insurance: after a DUI conviction, you can expect your auto insurance premiums to rise sharply. The national average is an annual increase in premiums of about $1,200.
There can be other hidden costs as well, including diminished educational opportunities and complications in personal relationships with family and friends.
Fortunately, a drunk driving arrest is not automatically a DUI conviction. Defendants have rights and legal options that can minimize or even eliminate penalties.