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5 Consequences of Drunk Driving

Traffic Stop
Motorist trying to walk a straight line while a police officer looks on.
Written by editor

When on the road, you must be alert and able to make quick judgments for your safety and that of other road users. However, driving under the influence, commonly known as DUI, significantly affects this necessity. Alcohol is one of the substances that contribute to DUIs. 

Traffic stops are random and they help enhance safe driving. Therefore, if a police officer finds you under the influence, it goes into your record, and a repeat offense can land you more significant problems. 

A DUI record can be on your file for a considerable time, depending on your location. You can check the duration by visiting your local law enforcement info sites. For instance, if you’re in California, a quick search, ‘DUI record California’ can give you sites you can reference. 

Consequences Of Drunk Driving

While you may consider taking a glass of wine or two as a non-issue, traffic laws still classify it as an inhibitor to safe driving. Thus, the phrase ‘taking one for the road’ shouldn’t be your go-to if you intend to drive. Or if it can’t be helped, you can find other means to get to your destination (e.g., a taxi or ride-sharing service). 

Apart from possible legal procedures, drunk driving has other detrimental consequences. Below are some of these consequences. The extent can vary depending on your legal jurisdiction and the gravity of the offense. 

  1. Serving A Jail Term

Various jurisdictions classify drunk driving in multiple ways. However, most note that you’re deemed to have committed a DUI offense if you’re in control of a motor vehicle while in a public place. A public space can be any location accessible to the public, such as a road or a parking space. It also includes a private area accessible by the public, for instance, a mall car park. 

Additionally, being in control of the vehicle means you’re in the driver’s seat, with the keys in your hand, and with the intention to drive. The jail term for a drunk driving offense varies. For instance, a DUI at a car park might be lighter than when you’re on the road. However, the courts have the discretion to increase or reduce the term depending on the legal guidelines. 

Young man stopped by policeman while driving

Furthermore, other circumstances come into play. A repeat offense poses a more severe punishment than if you’re a first-time offender. Also, the alcohol level in your system comes into play. Whether you were over or under the permitted alcohol limit can determine your jail time. You can be liable to a fine and a jail term in some locations, even if you’re a first-time offender. 

  1. Suspension Of Your Driving License

In addition to serving a jail term, a court of law can exercise its mandate to ban you from driving for a significant amount of time. This can range from two months to three years. Factors like a repeat offense, an existing court order for a similar crime, bail, the presence of passenger(s), or the depth of your involvement in the accident, can determine the penalty gravity.

It’s important to note that your license can be revoked entirely if the courts find you a serial offender. Thus, you won’t be legally valid to drive at all.

  1. Higher Rates Of Insurance

When your license has a record of dangerous or drunk driving, your insurance company would likely increase your premium fees according to the number of offenses you incurred. Thus, you’ll encounter rates that are higher than that of a ‘safe’ driver.

  1. Bodily Harm, Disability, Or Loss Of Life 

Given that there’s a significant impairment due to alcohol consumption, your reaction time reduces. Additionally, your vision and judgment also decrease. Thus, you may not make the right decision regarding turns, braking, and other vehicle controls. 

With these impairments, you can easily cause an accident that can do serious harm to others. Sometimes these accidents can prove to be fatal. Thus, it’s essential to avoid getting behind the wheel whether you’re over or under the legal limits.

  1. Property Damage

A drunk driving situation can result in varying degrees of accidents. However, the aftermath of these accidents is property damage. These damages can be other road users’ vehicles, roadside buildings, lamp posts, and other road installations. 

All these damages can be charged to you, especially if you’re at fault. Some states in the US allow claims for punitive damages if you’re found guilty of causing the accident. These states don’t permit insurance to bear the liability; thus, it can be incredibly costly to you.


Depending on your state or country, you may hear DUIs referred to by other terms. Impaired driving, driving while intoxicated, or drunk driving all mean the same. However, the laws governing DUIs are more or less similar. The above consequences are some of the results of drunk driving. 

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About the author


Editor in chief for eTurboNew is Linda Hohnholz. She is based in the eTN HQ in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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