There is nothing quite like being a self-employed entrepreneur with a business that is all your own and you finally have no one to answer to but yourself, and your clients and customers, of course. But, what would happen to your business if you were charged and convicted of a DUI? Would it have an impact on your business? The answer to that is, probably so. In fact, there are several ways in which a DUI could affect your business, some of which you probably hadn’t considered.
Your Driving Privileges Can Be Suspended
If you work from home and never have recourse to drive to and from your place of business or to meet with clients, this might not affect you very much. However, for the self-employed entrepreneur who needs to drive to remote locations or to an office daily, this could put a huge strain on your ability to do your ‘job.’ And, after all, it is a job even if for your own company! For those living in the suburbs or rural areas, this could make it virtually impossible to run their business and as a result, the entire operation could fold. Those living in a metro area might have use of public transportation, but even this is limited if you travel much in the line of your work.
All States Have Strict DUI Laws
One thing you can be certain of, all states have very strict DUI laws, some harsher than others. In some states multiple convictions of DUI Laws can mean your license can be permanently revoked, which would then have a very serious impact on your ability to perform your duties as a self-employed business owner. In fact, even on a first offense you could be forced to serve jail time depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense. If convicted, you will also probably be court ordered to attend such things as:
- Alcohol Education Meetings / Information on the Effects of Alcohol.
- Random court ordered alcohol tests.
- Probation with mandatory reporting and fees to be paid.
- Counseling sessions such as those sponsored by MADD.
Most people have heard of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which was actually founded in the State of California in 1980 but is now a huge non-profit organization throughout the United States and Canada. This group is extremely active on the political front and has affected many changes to DUI laws around the nation and in Canada as well.
Insurance Rates Will Go Sky High
Once you are allowed to drive legally again, that is if you ever are, you can count on your insurance rates going sky high as the result of a DUI conviction. Bear in mind that insurance rates are based on risk and there is little that carries more risk than a drunk driver. Consider the following statistics published by MADD:
- In 2015 there were 10,265 people who died as the result of drunk driving in auto accidents.
- The annual cost of drunk driving in the United States is over $132 billion.
- The cost of drunk driving equates to $500 per adult in the US.
- There were 290,000 injuries resulting from drunk driving in 2015.
Now look at all those facts through the eyes of insurance actuaries who set rates based on statistics and variables. You can see why just one DUI would significantly affect your insurance rates. It is statistically proven that the average person has driven at least 80 times under the influence before being charged with the DUI. Knowing this and that drunk driving is a pattern, actuaries set very, very high rates for those convicted of a DUI.
The Social Stigma Involved – Your Reputation Precedes You
There is another way in which a DUI could impact your business as a self-employed entrepreneur and that is the social stigma involved. Most communities publish accident reports and DUI arrests. Depending on the severity of the accident or the circumstances of the DUI, there may be a write-up in the paper in addition to publication on the police blotter that most, if not all, newspapers around the country carry. Most people are wary of doing business with someone convicted of a DUI because it doesn’t show a person of moral character that would take the chance of injuring or killing others into their hands as a result of poor judgment. Business professionals are held to a higher moral standard and a DUI would definitely affect your position in your community.
If you have been convicted of a DUI, you do have ways to begin repairing your reputation and legal standing. To lessen the impact on your life and the life of your business, contact an attorney who specializes in DUIs the moment you are charged or, failing that, at least to help mitigate the effects of the conviction. Your business depends on you so get the professional help you need before suffering that loss as well.