Stigma Surrounding an Atlanta DUI
While driving under the influence can be very dangerous, so can reckless driving, speeding, and texting while driving. All of these can result in an arrest, in injury or an accident, and even cause a person's death. However, driving under the influence of alcohol carries a much harsher stigma than other driving violations, even when the driver was not involved in an accident and no one was harmed.
A conviction for an Atlanta DUI can include jail time, a suspended license, required attendance in a DUI Alcohol or Drug Use Risk Reduction Program and substance abuse evaluation, fines and community service. However, for some people the consequences extend beyond what the court can issue. Sometimes friends, family, neighbors and co-workers will treat you differently, which can have a real impact on your life.
There may be many reasons why a DUI is treated differently than other potentially deadly driving violations. For some people, they may have had someone they know killed or injured by a drunk driver. They may treat you as if how could you have done such a thing, regardless of the actual situation.
One of the problems with the public perception of a driver arrested for a DUI, is that people automatically think you are most likely guilty. They don't take into consideration that our justice system does not operate that way for a very good reason.
Sometimes police make mistakes, sometimes police arrest drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) well below the legal limit. Some police do not take into account environmental factors or medical conditions when conducting a field sobriety test. Even if you had no alcohol, they may just assume you failed the test because you were impaired by a drug they couldn't detect. Other times, the machines aren't working properly, and could show you have an over the limit BAC, when the actual number is well below.
If you are arrested for a DUI, but know you were not impaired, you may be waiting for your chance to fight the charges in court, to have your name cleared. However, some people may judge you without concerning themselves about the facts, and just rely on the fact that you got arrested to assume guilt. Newspapers and the police don't help this situation, when they decide to publish names and faces of individuals arrested on “suspicion” of driving under the influence.
You may have wanted to keep your DUI arrest to yourself, without wanting to go through the public shame, since you know that some people will jump to conclusions that you were drunk, rather than wait for the courts to decide you were innocent. However, when the newspaper publishes the weekly crime blotter, they may include your name, age, where you are from, and include your arrest for a DUI. Your arrest picture may even be posted on a website somewhere for anyone to see.
Alcohol is Treated Differently
Alcohol is seen as a vice by many Americans. After all, we were the country that tried to ban alcohol. For 13 years, from 1920 to 1933, there was a nationwide constitutional ban on the sale, production, transportation and import of alcoholic beverages. Social and religious groups and other prohibition supporters saw the 18th Amendment banning alcohol as a triumph for morals and social well-being. Many saw prohibition as a failure which contributed to the rise in organized crime, by forcing alcohol underground. Eventually, after the 21st Amendment was passed, the laws banning alcohol were overturned.
However, for some individuals, alcohol remains a shameful vice and a social ill. They may treat all suspects arrested for a DUI as irresponsible drunks, without taking into account the individual situation of the person behind the arrest. They don't account for how individual people treat their consumption of alcohol. While some people are regular drinkers, others may just have an occasional drink during a celebration, or limit their consumption to one drink. Unfortunately, even a light social drinker can get caught up in a DUI arrest.
Even though an arrest for a DUI may let some people know you were arrested, in most cases, you may never have to let anyone know you were arrested. If you fight your charges and are cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, you will never have to put on a job application or professional licensing questionnaire that you were convicted of a DUI. Being cleared of any wrongdoing may be your best option after a DUI to avoid any social stigma.
Atlanta DUI Lawyer
If you are ever arrested for a DUI, make sure you understand all the penalties associated with a DUI conviction, including consideration of how it can affect your job and family life. Don't let an arrest lead to a conviction. After talking to a qualified DUI lawyer, you may find that you actually have a good chance of having your charges dismissed, so you can keep a clean record.
With so much more at stake after an Atlanta DUI, you need a skilled DUI defense attorney with years of experience representing people charged with driving under the influence. I exclusively handle DUI cases here in the Atlanta area. Don't risk a criminal record and a public record of your DUI conviction. Call me anytime 24/7, so we can get started to keep you out of jail, and to save your license.