The penalties of a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) in Torrance, California are very high. However, the state is not the only source of drunk driving consequences. Other people, businesses, and even other government agencies will look at a drunk driving or drugged driving conviction and take action against a driver, even if the DUI happened years ago.
These consequences of a DUI conviction that do not come from the state of California are called collateral consequences, and can sometimes be even more difficult to overcome than the fines, jail time, and license suspension that come from the state.
Avoiding these collateral consequences, minimizing their damage, or preparing for them if they are imminent, are all things that a skilled Torrance DUI defense lawyer like William S. Kroger can help you do.
What are Collateral Consequences of a DUI in Torrance, CA?
After a criminal conviction of any sort, there will be a set of penalties to deal with. These penalties are named in the statute of the law that you were charged with breaking, and typically include fines, jail time, and probation. These are the consequences that you will have to deal with, directly as a result of the conviction.
However, these are not the only consequences of a conviction. Collateral consequences are the repercussions that you can face for having a particular type of conviction on your criminal background. These collateral consequences take on such a huge variety of forms that they are often forgotten about when people – including prosecutors – talk about a criminal conviction. Worse, the type of collateral consequences you can face change, depending on the nature of the underlying conviction.
Common collateral consequences of a conviction include:
- Loss of voting rights
- Loss of your right to own a firearm
- Ineligibility for government assistance, like Food Stamps or scholarships
- Ineligibility for certain professional licenses
- Requirement to install an Ignition Interlock Device
- Immigration complications
These collateral consequences typically focus on the type of conduct that led to the underlying conviction. For example, the collateral consequences of a prior conviction for bank fraud can make it more difficult to get a loan or a mortgage. However, the relationship between the collateral consequence and the underlying conviction can be tenuous, at best: Convictions for violent felonies can prevent you from ever obtaining the professional licenses you need to become a barber, something that is only seemingly unrelated to the underlying conviction.
Finally, the level of offense has a lot to do with what collateral consequences you will have to overcome: Felonies come with a much wider range of collateral consequences than misdemeanors do.
Common Collateral Consequences of a DUI in Torrance, CA
If you have a prior DUI conviction in your criminal history, there are certain collateral consequences that are more common than others. One that you are almost certain to face is a higher price for car insurance. If you are a student or are considering going back to school, you could also face repercussions for your DUI conviction that implicate any scholarships or financial aid you receive.
One of the most important collateral consequences has to do with your employment, especially if you are a professional driver, like a trucker or bus driver, or a semi-professional driver with Uber, Lyft, or other ridesharing company. There are also potential immigration complications if you are not a U.S. citizen, as well as travel restrictions. Finally, there is the general social stigma against individuals with a drunk driving history that can surface in a variety of circumstances, if you have a DUI on your criminal record in TO.
Car Insurance Premiums and the SR-22 in Los Angeles
Nearly anyone who has just been convicted for drunk or drugged driving will see the costs of car insurance rise substantially. Insurance companies will charge more because the DUI on your record is an indication, to them, that you are a riskier driver than you were before the incident. In their eyes, the increased risk of an accident that you now present justifies an increase in the cost of your insurance.
One way for the costs of your car insurance to rise is through the SR-22 requirement when you reinstate your license after a DUI-induced suspension.
An SR-22 is a certificate of insurance. When you reinstate your license after a suspension from a DUI, you will need to prove that you have adequate car insurance, and the SR-22 is the form that does it. Your insurance company will provide you with one, and will also send a copy to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
The costs of an SR-22 certificate depend on the car insurance company that you have, as well as on the details of the DUI. However, many insurance policies that involve an SR-22 certificate run up to $800. Additionally, some insurance companies will charge you a fee – usually from $25 to $50 – to file the SR-22 form with the DMV. Finally, the premiums for your insurance will likely increase, as well.
College and Education Consequences of a DUI in Torrance, California
Having a DUI conviction on your criminal background can also make it more difficult to get financial assistance to cover the costs of tuition, and can even impact your ability to get into organizations or make a sports team, let alone enroll in school, at all.
Many scholarships that are available to college and graduate students – particularly those that are offered by funding sources that are independent of the school you are attending – have applications that specifically question your criminal history. The further you get into the application review process, the more likely they are to run a background check to see if your response to these questions is accurate.
If you claimed that you did not have a criminal background when you actually had a prior DUI arrest and conviction, the dishonesty can doom your application and keep you from getting a scholarship that you were otherwise qualified to receive. On the other hand, if you were straightforward about the DUI conviction, your application might not be taken seriously enough.
Financial assistance in the form of federal or state grants also queries your criminal background, as well. Some of these scholarships and grants are explicitly out of reach for people with a conviction for DUI.
You can even face hardship while at college if you have a DUI in your past. Many organizations, academic fraternities, and even sports teams will frown upon a past conviction for DUI. In some cases, this blemish can be enough to reject you from their ranks.
Finally, your background will come up even before you have enrolled in school. If you have a DUI conviction in your past and are applying to enroll in college or a post-graduate degree program, the mark on your criminal background will be a point of concern. If the program is especially prestigious or competitive, a past DUI conviction can be enough to put you below other candidates who are equally qualified.
Employment-Related Consequences of a DUI Conviction in Torrance, California
A DUI conviction can come with collateral consequences to your professional life. Nowhere is this more apparent, or more devastating, than for professional or commercial drivers. Truckers, bus drivers, and taxi cab drivers all rely on their driver's license to earn an income. However, transportation companies require them to stay safe on the roads and protect the company's vehicles and protect the company from potential liability in a crash.
If you get arrested and convicted for drunk driving or drugged driving – even if it was off the job and in your personal vehicle – transportation companies can interpret that as being unsafe enough to warrant firing you, on the spot. This is true, even if you are able to get a temporary or restricted license that allows you to do the job you are there to do.
Additionally, even after you have had your license reinstated and even if years have passed since your prior DUI conviction, you can still face a difficult time getting hired to be a professional driver with a drunk driving conviction on your record. Transportation companies have long memories, and rarely forget or forgive drivers who have been convicted for DUI, even if it was long ago and you had a spotless record, outside of the conviction. Many companies are more willing to take on someone new than hire an experienced driver who has a prior conviction.
Of course, all of these employment-related collateral consequences to a DUI conviction are in addition to the immediate impact that a license suspension can have on a professional driver: Many, if not most, professional drivers who lose their license lose their job, as well.
However, commercial drivers are not the only people who can suffer collateral consequences of a DUI that impair their professional lives. A DUI in your past can make your professional life difficult if you are in any one of the fields that require its workers to maintain a reputation for honesty and good character, such as:
- Financial planners
In many of these cases, there are reporting requirements that have to be complied with. Not reporting the conviction, or actually lying about it, can lead to even more trouble than if you were upfront about it.
DUI and Immigration Status
A DUI conviction that involves an accident, reckless driving, or injury DUI may have a collateral consequence for anyone who is not a U.S. citizen but living in the State of California. The mark on your criminal background can create immigration problems that are costly to resolve and can even end in deportation. The exact repercussions depend a lot on the details of the incident, as well as on your immigration status.
International Travel Restrictions After a DUI in Torrance, CA
Even U.S. citizens, though, can face travel restrictions if they have been convicted on drunk or drugged driving charges in the past. Getting a visa to visit, study, or live abroad can become an uphill struggle if you have been convicted for DUI and have a criminal background.
Some countries are more stringent about who they let visit, so the restrictions can depend on where you want to go. However, the presence of collateral consequences for international travel is neither vague nor distant: Canada has been known to refuse entry to people who have a criminal background that includes a DUI conviction.
This is especially important for people who travel a lot for work. Airline pilots or flight attendants who get convicted for DUI can see their professional schedules turned upside down or even lose their jobs if their airline is unable to accommodate the restrictions. The same goes for international business people who regularly need to visit other countries.
Social Stigma and Good Character Implications
Finally, a DUI conviction is something that other people will often dredge up if they want to attack your character for their own gain. Numerous politicians have had prior DUIs brought to light by other candidates in an attempt to discredit and shame them.
However, public figures are not the only people who can face the social stigma against drunk driving. Some of the most hotly contested divorce cases involve allegations that a past conviction for drunk driving makes one spouse unfit to parent, insinuating that the DUI makes them a bad person and that they should not get any child custody.
Torrance DUI-Defense Lawyer William S. Kroger
William S. Kroger is a DUI-defense and drug defense attorney who serves both the Torrance and the surrounding area. The experience and knowledge that he has gained from serving countless people who have been charged with drunk driving or drugged driving have helped him see the potential collateral consequences that you can face – even those that are years down the road.
Hiring William S. Kroger to protect you against the charges you are facing in Torrance California can not only help avoid the fines, license suspension, and jail time that are on the table; it can also help protect your future from the collateral consequences of having a DUI on your criminal record.