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How a Louisiana DUI arrest or conviction can change your life

The impact of alcohol-related crimes has gained widespread public attention, influencing decisions by state legislatures across the country, including lawmakers in Louisiana. Society no longer takes DUI charges or convictions lightly.

Some Baton Rouge defendants don't realize how quickly or how long their lives can be changed, following a drunk-driving arrest.

Most drivers are familiar with at least some consequences of a driving under the influence conviction. It is common knowledge a DUI record can result in the temporary loss of driving privileges, fines, community service, mandatory alcohol education and possible incarceration. But, some defendants underestimate the long-range personal toll.

A license suspension forces DUI defendants to find alternate ways to commute, shop and get to school, appointments and social occasions. The inconvenience may last a few months or up to two years for a first-time DUI offense. Defendants who choose to drive with a suspended license can be charged with a separate crime, making legal problems worse than they already are.

Employers do not look favorably on job applicants with a history of DUI arrests or convictions, easily uncovered during background checks. It's also not easy to keep a public record secret. Even if an arrest doesn't make the news, court dates and punishments may interfere with a work schedule – getting fired is a real possibility for defendants with driving-related jobs.

Colleges and landlords also routinely perform background checks on applicants. You may be denied college admission, scholarships, student financial aid and housing. As a high-risk driver, your car insurance rates will soar to astronomical heights, possibly for years -- just as likely, you could be dropped as a customer.

In addition, an arrest or conviction can strain relationships with family members, friends, neighbors, social connections and business associates. Criminal defense attorneys recognize the multi-level punch a DUI arrest or conviction can deliver and work to mitigate the consequences.

Source: BACtrack, "Long-term DUI Consequences" accessed Feb. 04, 2015

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