Being arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a grave matter, but sometimes people don't treat these situations with the seriousness they require. In fact, it's not unusual for people to ignore court dates because they think the charges are no big deal, but here are two ways that doing this can cause even more trouble for defendants.
A DUI case is like the Terminator in the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie of the same name. It will relentlessly follow you until you take care of the matter to the court's satisfaction. It starts with the judge issuing a warrant for your arrest, which means any interaction with the police puts you at risk of being taken to jail, even if you're seeking help from them for an unrelated issue.
In addition to the arrest warrant, your license may be suspended by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) if it hasn't been already. DMVs have their own policies and procedures for handling DUI cases, which is why it's common for people who've been arrested for DUIs to have their licenses invalidated even before their court cases conclude. However, the courts may also have the DMV revoke your driving privileges as punishment for failing to appear.
Lastly, any bail you paid to be released from jail will be forfeited—meaning you won't get that money back—and you will probably be denied bail when you are rearrested for not showing up for your court date.
Legal woes aren't the only problems that can arise when you skip out on your DUI case. This issue can impact your personal life as well. Except in a select few instances, criminal cases are a matter of public record and can be seen by anyone who does a background check on you. This means employers, landlords, and even banks will know you've been arrested for DUI and that you didn't show up for your court case, which may result in you being denied housing, loans, or employment.
Without a license, you'll be banned from driving, making it difficult to get around. If you drive on a suspended license, not only can you be arrested for that but police can confiscate your vehicle. Since impound fees are charged daily, you can rack up a hefty bill by the time you are released from jail. Failure to pay these fees after a certain amount of time may result in your vehicle being auctioned off.
Although you may not feel your DUI case is that serious, it's best to take care of it to avoid compounding your legal woes. Contact a local DUI attorney for help.
I'll be up front: I have a criminal record. As someone who's spent lots--and lots--of time looking for a job in my life, I've gotten used to being up front with this fact. It's difficult to get hired with this on my record, and frankly, it never gets less scary to have to tell an interviewer about it. But that doesn't mean I'm unemployable. I'm a hard worker who can bring a lot to any company. And I also know what an employer needs to do for me. I know my rights. There's no federal law protecting me from discrimination due to my record, but there are plenty of state laws that make it a little easier for me. If you're looking for a job and you have a criminal record, read through this information. Protect yourself during a job search. Know your rights.