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A DUI arrest doesn’t just happen. It requires at least one poor choice, and that’s the choice to get behind the wheel after drinking too much booze. There are so many better options, like calling an Uber, sleeping it off at your friend’s house, or even calculating your blood alcohol level with help from the Internet. But there are no do-overs once those blue flashing lights appear in your rearview mirror. Your job now is figuring out what will happen after a DUI. Here are 3 things that could happen once you’re booked into jail.


You Hire a Lawyer

If you aren’t sure why you’d need a lawyer, take a look at the possible penalties for DUI in your state. A first-time offense can result in jail time, even if you live in one of the more lenient states like South Dakota or Ohio. Even getting arrested in those states doesn’t mean you’ll get off with a simple lecture, though. You can expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars in fines, if nothing else. You may also have to adjust to life without a valid driver’s license for anywhere from a few months to a year.


If all of that sounds alarming, that’s because it’s supposed to be alarming. Lawmakers want to punish offenders for a few reasons. One of those reasons is the hope that other people will see those punishments carried out and decide not to get behind the wheel after a night of heavy drinking. If you really feel guilty about getting arrested, you may wrongly think that getting a DUI lawyer means you’re trying to escape consequences somehow. That’s not the case. A lawyer will work with both you and prosecutors to ensure the price you pay makes sense for all sides.

You Career Path Changes

At worst, this means that your boss finds out about your DUI arrest and fires you. Don’t be surprised if your place of employment doesn’t want to deal with an employee who gets arrested for drunk driving, especially when they can replace you with someone without an arrest record. Depending on how close you are with your boss, they may be worried rather than angry, but you shouldn’t expect your work life to proceed as normal, even if you keep your job.

If you aren’t fired, it might still be time for a change. Research from the British Medical Journal shows that people who work more than 48 hours a week are likelier to have risky drinking habits than those who work a typical 40-hour schedule. It’s natural to have a drink or two to unwind after a stressful day of work, but if every single day at work is both stressful and long, that’s another issue entirely. Instead of self-medicating with alcohol, try to figure out if there’s a way to do what you love without always feeling on edge.

In extreme cases, changing your career path can mean going back to school for a completely new career field. Whether it’s a Master of Arts in Psychology or a Bachelor of Science in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, make sure your new pursuit is capable of challenging you in ways that won’t drive you to drink.

Your Social Circle Shifts

You want to hang out with people that share your interests, but as you get older, you’re likely to find that “drinking a whole lot” doesn’t rank as high on your list of priorities as it did when you were in college. That’s a good thing, even if it takes getting arrested for DUI to help you realize that you’ve outgrown some of your friendships.

This realization doesn’t mean you have to ditch your friend group entirely, but you can try to hang out with them in situations that don’t revolve around Jell-O shots. Suggest alternate activities like game night or regular trips to the movies. Some people in your group may respond badly, but there will be others who are relieved to try something different on Friday and Saturday nights.

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