When considering the impact of a drunk driving conviction in Indiana, the first thoughts tend to be about the criminal penalties that include possible jail time and heavy fines. However, the most damaging aspects of an OWI conviction can linger for years after jail time has been served and the fines have been paid off. A drunk driving conviction in Indiana can put your current job in jeopardy and make any future job searches extremely difficult.
If you are facing an OWI charge it is important to have a skilled Indianapolis DUI lawyer representing you to prevent the negative impacts a drunk driving conviction can have on your career.
Jail Sentences for OWI
The most obvious consequence of a drunk driving conviction on your job would be if you are sentenced to jail time for the offense. Any significant time in jail would leave most employers with no option but to terminate your employment. Even a first-time conviction can potentially lead to jail time, as a first offense is considered a Class C misdemeanor and carries the possibility of up to 60 days in jail.
If a first offense is due to a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or above or involves endangering another person the possibility of extended jail time increases significantly. The more serious first-time offenses are considered Class A misdemeanors and carry the possibility of up to one year in jail.
Multiple offenses or causing injuries while driving drunk can lead to felony charges, which then carry mandatory time in prison for at least six months.
Suspension of Driving Privileges
If you make your living in a profession that requires you to drive frequently, a drunk driving conviction will put your employment in jeopardy. Indiana law calls for the possibility of an administrative suspension of a driver’s license for 180 days if you simply fail a chemical test, and a first time OWI conviction can lead to the suspension of your license for up to two years. Multiple offenders face even longer suspension periods, even up to the permanent revocation of driving privileges.
You may be able to get special driving privileges that allow you to drive to and from work, but an employer may not want the additional liability of employing someone under suspension for drunk driving. If you have a job that requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL), a DUI license suspension directly impacts your livelihood as Indiana law provides that any probationary driving privileges given do not apply to a CDL.
Impact on Future Job Opportunities
An Indiana OWI conviction will continue to affect your employment long after any jail term or license suspension. If you’re looking for a new job, your drunk driving conviction will show up on background checks by your potential employers. Employers could view an OWI conviction as an example of poor judgment that would be a highly unfavorable trait in a potential employee. Additionally, employers that require employees to drive company vehicles or operate company machinery would be reluctant to hire someone with a prior drunk driving conviction. Any accident caused by such an employee would create a higher risk of the employer being held liable, even if alcohol was not a factor in the workplace incident.
How an Indianapolis DUI Attorney Can Help
An Indiana OWI conviction can damage your life personally, professionally, and socially. With so much on the line, it is vital to have an experienced Indianapolis DUI lawyer who understands the charges against you and the defenses available.
Attorney Sean Hessler is a skilled and knowledgeable Indiana criminal defense attorney who has successfully defended his clients in OWI cases. Let his experience help you achieve the best result possible.