Behind the veil of an OUI conviction are many hidden costs, some of which will feel like a belated punch to the stomach that knocks the wind out of you. On the surface, you understand the seriousness of your predicament after a law enforcement officer pulls you over. And you know that you face possible incarceration, probation, steep fines as well as the loss of your driver’s license.
But there is more. These merely represent some of the “costs” for your ill-advised decision to get behind the wheel after a workplace happy hour event with colleagues. Think about the hits you will take to your personal and professional reputations and the possibility of losing your job as well as the judge ordering you to enroll in a rehabilitation program.
Higher insurance rates, child custody issues
Some of these hidden costs from an OUI charge directly strike your pocketbook, while others go deeper and may have long-lasting personal ramifications. Here are some of them:
- Higher auto insurance rates likely on the way: An OUI conviction represents a badge declaring you are a higher risk. Your insurance premiums may double, causing you to pay higher costs than you pay for your teenage son.
- A loss of income: A conviction may lead you to spend time in the county jail. When that happens, you may not be allowed to work, and your paycheck shrinks. You can only hope that the state or county offers a work-release program.
- The added costs from installing an ignition interlock device in your vehicle: Massachusetts law requires people with multiple OUI convictions to have this expensive device installed, while also forcing you to pay monthly fees for its use. If you need your car, this device is connected to the vehicle’s ignition and measures the alcohol content via a breath test. With any detection of alcohol, this device prevents the car from starting.
- Costs associated with enrollment in a rehabilitation program: If the court detects that you have a problem, it may order rehabilitation. This usually costs hundreds of dollars each day.
- The big hits on your personal and professional reputations: Your standing in the community may plunge, and others may no longer view you in high regard. You may even lose your job, watch your business dwindle or see employment opportunities wither.
- Losing your children: With enough OUI convictions, you may lose custody of your children. This may be one of the worst punishments.
Please understand that the penalties associated with an OUI conviction are serious, deep and varied. You want no part of such punishment, which can cause a halo of bad fortune.