If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you’re probably experiencing a range of emotions from shame, guilt and maybe even shock. Sometimes we can feel capable of driving, completely unaware that our blood alcohol levels are above the legal threshold. Other times we might be aware that we have a drinking problem, and that we’re not safe to drive, but take the risk anyway. However you found yourself in this situation, you’re going to want to look towards a plan to find a new normal after a DUI. Here are my top 4 suggestions of how to bounce back after a DUI:
1. Choose the right DUI attorney
The representation you choose can impact how your case goes, the charges you are convicted of and the total fine or jail sentence you are given. You’re going to want to find the right DUI attorney that has experience with DUI charges and can help you minimise your sentence or fines. If you go to trial, you could be looking at fines of $25,000 upwards depending on your charges. Generally you are immediately taken into custody after a DUI and you’ll be given one phone call. Depending on your state, you may have to have someone come and pay bail to get you out of jail, and you may also have to stay in the cell until the alcohol has left your system.
2. Assess the Role Alcohol Plays in Your Life
Do you have a problem with alcohol consumption or was this a one-off that simply went too far? This is a very personal question and you will have to dig deep to understand the answer. If you’re concerned there may be a chance that you are suffering from alcohol addiction, now is the time to consider taking drastic measures to get your life back. Being charged with drinking under the influence is something that can impact many aspects of your life from going on your record which can impact job prospects, as well as resulting in a license suspension, preventing you from being able to drive for two years. Driving under the influence also results in thousands of deaths in the USA every year, so not only are you putting your own life at risk, you’re also risking that of others.
3. Be Transparent With Your Employer
If you’re currently employed, there’s a very good chance that a DUI charge is going to impact aspects of your job. If you lose your license, then you might find it difficult to do parts of your job or even to get to work each day. I suggest talking to your boss about what’s going on in a very professional, matter of fact way. Before scheduling a meeting to discuss things, be clear about how much this is going to impact your ability to do your job and brainstorm some suggestions of ways you can minimise the impact so you can discuss them with your employer. If you’re currently job searching, be mindful that a DUI on your record can make it much harder to find employment as there is a negative stigma attached to this kind of felony. If you’ve spent a lot of time job hunting and not come up with any leads, it might be worth heading to a recruitment agency that can help connect you with positions that might be more open to working with someone with a history.
4. Focus on Your Support Network
Going through the process of being charged with a DUI and the consequences that come with it can be life-altering and a wild emotional rollercoaster. I suggest finding a few close family members or friends you can turn to as part of your support network. If you’ve decided you are not happy with your relationship with alcohol and want to make some changes, be sure to tell them so they can support you in the ways you need. If you want to go to AA meetings, for example, it might be a good idea to ask one of your friends to go with you until you’ve established the habit. I know sometimes I find it hard going to new meetings or starting up new habits, and this social accountability can make it seem less daunting. It may also be worth looking into therapy as an option to work past some of the feelings you might be experiencing around your DUI charges.
While it can feel like life is going to be very challenging after a DUI, there are many things you can do to ensure that you bounce back as quickly as possible. From finding an experienced DUI attorney to help you fight your case, through to being transparent with your employer, these changes can make a big difference to your future after a DUI.