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 Life After DUI: How to Move On

How to Move Your Life Forward After a DUI

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If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, you’re almost certainly dealing with the negative ramifications in the personal, professional, social, and financial areas of your life. But it’s time to stop wallowing and start working on moving past this unfortunate mistake. 

The Ongoing Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Driving under the influence is the most common criminal offense in the U.S. People with otherwise clean records are arrested and convicted with DUIs all the time. (It doesn’t make it any more or less wrong – that’s just the way it is.) 

And while the short-term consequences are steep – including the potential for jail time, fines, and plenty of embarrassment – it’s the long-term consequences that follow you for years.

If you’ve recently been convicted of a DUI, you’re facing things like driver’s license revocation, background checks that will be triggered when applying for jobs, schools, or scholarships, increased auto insurance rates, and potentially negative labels and perceptions in your personal and professional lives.

While some of these consequences just come with the territory, you don’t have to let them ruin you. Millions of people go on to lead happy and successful lives after DUI convictions. It’s up to you to make the most of your situation. 

4 Tips for Living Well

Your DUI doesn’t have to define you. Life can be lived well beyond the mark of a DUI. Here are some helpful tips to get you pointed in the right direction:

1. Fight the Conviction (If Necessary)

It’s possible that you were 100 percent in the wrong and you know that you broke the law. As a result, you only have one person to be frustrated with and you’re sort of “taking your medicine.” However, this isn’t always the case. 

In a lot of situations, DUI convictions aren’t justified. Either you weren’t above the legal limit or the district attorney manipulated your case and slapped you with a charge based on false pretenses. It’s also fairly common for people to have bad legal representation, which undermines their defense and leads to a conviction.

“A lot of people don’t take their DUI case seriously enough and just work with the first public defender that’s assigned to them. This is a huge mistake with ramifications that can last for a decade or more,” attorney Rowdy G. Williams says. “For example, you could get paired with a brand new attorney who is fresh off passing the Bar exam and has just become a public defender this month. He might have promise, but he has no experience representing clients in the real world. You’re his guinea pig.”

If you feel like you didn’t get a fair shake the first time around and there were certain flaws in your case, meeting with a DUI defense attorney to get a second opinion on whether you can fight the conviction is wise.

2. Get Support from Friends and Family

Now is the time to lean on family and friends for support. Gather your inner circle of the people who love you and lean on them for encouragement and advice. You don’t need to hide from the outside world, but it does help to be discerning with which voices you let guide you during this important time. 

3. Avoid Triggers

Just because you got a DUI doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic or that you have ongoing drinking problems. Anyone can get caught up in the excitement of an evening and have one too many drinks. However, it’s helpful to deconstruct what happened that evening and use this information to guide you moving forward.

Start by identifying what your triggers are. Are there certain people you drink more around than others? Are there certain situations or environments that are more conducive to drinking in excess? Ask yourself questions like these and get to the bottom of what happened.

4. Evaluate Friendships

It’s entirely possible that you’ll need to cut off certain friendships and pursue other ones in the wake of a DUI conviction. Anyone who doesn’t accept you for who you are should be avoided. Likewise, anyone who enables you to participate in irresponsible behavior shouldn’t be allowed to have influence over your life any longer. Evaluate your friendships and spend time with the people who lift you up. 

Moving On With Your Life

You aren’t meant to live in shame. You also aren’t meant to live with permanent consequences as a result of one night of poor judgment. There’s freedom beyond your DUI conviction. Live well and embrace the life you were meant to lead!