According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), drunk driving impacts 2 out of every 3 Americans. Drunk driving does not only impact you, but your family, friends, employers and, should you happen to hit somebody, complete strangers. One night of partying can lead to a lifetime of ruin. Being arrested for drunk driving can make you lose your job, your finances, and your freedom. When in doubt, always call a cab or ride-share service instead of driving.
You Could Hurt or Kill Someone
Think you can drive after just one or two drinks? Think again. Alcohol slows down your reaction time. Say you're driving at 70 mph and a deer darts in front of your car. Studies prove that a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of just 0.08 milligrams slows your reactions to the point where you could travel 12 feet before being able to turn the wheel or slam on the brakes. This is far enough to kill the deer, yourself, or people in any car that you may swerve into. NHTSA reports that about 800 Americans get hurt because of drunk drivers.
If someone else is killed because of your decision to drive drunk, that weight will never leave you. What makes matters worse is that 90% of funeral services held today have family members or other important figures unable to attend the service. So if you were to fatally injure another person, it’s more likely than not that someone they loved will never be able to say goodbye.
Most likely, the person who gets injured is yourself. About half of the drivers killed in drunk driving accidents were later proven to be legally drunk. The most common injuries are whiplash, burns, concussions, spinal injuries, and soft tissue injuries, broken bones, damaged internal organs, and traumatic brain injuries. This can lead to paralysis, permanent disabilities, and mental problems.
You Could Lose Your Job Or Be Kicked Out of College
Some jobs do not tolerate any drunk driving convictions. After arrest, you spend time in jail unless you can post bail. If not, you are stuck in jail and cannot work. Calling out sick is tolerated by employers. Calling out jailed is not. You may have to stay in jail for weeks or months before your trial. In that time, you have long been replaced at work.
Some colleges and universities will not tolerate students getting arrested for drunk driving. If you are on a scholarship, you may lose it. Being stuck in jail lessens your chance of keeping up your studies. You also may not be able to afford bail and legal fees as well as tuition. Something has to give and usually it is your education.
You Could Lose Your Ability to Drive
Even if you avoid crippling injuries that make you physically unable to drive, you could lose your legal ability to drive. All states require drivers to be insured. Drunk driving charges make your insurance costs climb so high that it is unaffordable. Some companies may drop you immediately with a drunk driving conviction. States like Michigan have a zero-tolerance approach to drunk drivers age 21 and under. This means that if any trace of alcohol is in your system, you could be facing charges.
Drivers in all states also need to be licensed. Some states automatically suspend licenses with a drunk driving conviction. Some put you on a point system. When you get so many points, you lose your license.
You Could Go to Jail
You definitely will spend some time in jail waiting for bail or for your trial. This means you cannot work, go to school, spend time with family or fulfill any commitments. If you do go to trial, part of your punishment might be prison time, which only makes matters worse. Prison is traumatic enough without knowing if you will lose your home while you are incarcerated. To know more about bail, read article about bail vs. bond.
Once out of prison, you'll still need to check in with your parole officer regularly and may be prohibited from traveling. You may also find getting a new job impossible.
You Could Go Bankrupt
If this isn't bad enough, you also could come out of jail bankrupt. You are liable for damages to any pets, people, or property you damaged. You will have legal fees, fines, and if you are allowed to keep your car, repairs.
Most importantly, you'll have to pay a bail bond company back when they posted your bail. A bail bond agency will use your money or property as bail. But with fees and interest, you could wind up owing far more than the original bail.