Frankie Hammond Jr, a sophomore at the University of Florida, seemed to have a bright future in Florida football, at least until his arrest for driving under the influence . As punishment, University of Florida coach Urban Meyer pulled Hammond’s scholarship, and Hammond was immediately suspended from all team activities. He will be allowed to come back and play, but now he’ll have to pay his own way and earn a spot on the team. Like other players who have made mistakes, Hammond will be on probation, and will likely be dismissed if he gets into trouble again.
The classic legal punishment for DUI includes possible jail time, driver’s license suspension, probation and fines. But there are other collateral consequences of DUI that are not often discussed. In fact, these collateral consequences can far outweigh jail time.
Wrongful Death in Drunk-Driving Accidents
The loss of a scholarship is just one of a plethora of potentially devastating results of drunk driving. The most devastating potential consequence of driving drunk is killing another motorist or passenger. DUI manslaughter or vehicular homicide charges are serious, and can result in years of prison time. And causing a death in a drunk-driving accident can lead to intense guilt and psychological damage.
After former law student Stephen Spencer killed his friend Scott Brenner in a drunk-driving accident, he tearfully apologized to his friend’s family in court, before being sentenced to over a decade in prison, house arrest, probation, and community service, along with permanent driver’s license revocation. The legal consequences, while substantial, are nothing compared to the damage that Spencer caused.
A Criminal Record
A drunk-driving conviction is part of a person’s criminal record. Multiple convictions can even result in felony charges, which negatively impact a range of life activities, such as driving commercial vehicles and owning a firearm. Too, the stigma of a criminal record affects myriad employment, housing and social opportunities.
Driver’s License Suspension or Revocation
A motorist arrested for DUI is likely to get a suspended license . Even if the license is not suspended or revoked, many states are now requiring ignition interlock devices (which test a driver’s breath for alcohol before allowing a vehicle’s engine to start) for all drunk-driving offenders. In New York, for example, a new law requires even first-time DWI offenders sentenced after August 15th to install an ignition interlock device on every vehicle to which they have access.
Offenders must also pay for the devices out of their own pockets (the typical cost for an ignition interlock device is around $100 for installation and another $100 monthly for monitoring costs). Additional sanctions can also include mandatory treatment, especially for drivers arrested with very high blood alcohol levels.
The collateral consequences of DUI are varied and severe. Because such serious and long-lasting problems can accompany drunk-driving charges, it is important to protect yourself if you are arrested for DUI. Contact an attorney who can advise you if you have been arrested for DUI or if you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a drunk-driving accident.