The state of Kentucky wants to keep drunk drivers off the road, so the penalties, even for a first offense, are stiff. However, a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol is not just about the penalties you face. A DUI mark on your record will follow you and may put the plans you had for the future on hold.

First things first

The penalties that accompany a first offense for DUI include driver’s license suspension for 30 to 120 days, a fine of $200 to $500, possible jail time from two to 30 days with mandatory community service and attendance in an alcohol abuse program. The penalties increase if you have any subsequent convictions for DUI.

Employment issues

To begin with, the loss of your driver’s license will likely create employment problems. How will you get to work? If your job happens to involve driving, your boss may have to terminate you because of the DUI conviction because you no longer have a clean driving record. It may also be difficult for you to find the kind of future employment you want. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against you because of your criminal record unless there is a legitimate reason for doing so. However, the federal law is not widely followed, and recruiters perform background checks on applicants as a matter of course. Even if you have the necessary qualifications for the job, the recruiter may select an applicant who has a clean driving record and appears to be a more responsible candidate.

Licensing and certifications

A DUI mark on your record will also take you out of the running for certain professions that require state licensing or certification. Examples are teaching, legal or medical careers.

Looking ahead

The obvious solution is to not drink and drive. However, if arrested on suspicion of DUI, remember you have legal options to consider that could make a big difference in the way your future unfolds.