What Really Happens To Entrepreneurs Who Face a DUI

Entrepreneur

As the founder and entrepreneur of a business, there are many perks. For the most part, you have no one to answer to but yourself and are free to take creative risks and build products and services that make you happy (and are profitable). However, as the face of a business, you could deal with serious scrutiny if you’re slapped with a DUI (driving under the influence).

The legal drinking limit is 0.08 percent BAC, which equates to a single 5-ounce glass of wine or 12-ounce beer. And there are some single-can drinks, like the Four Loko, that trump both beer and wine in terms of alcohol content, and can make the drinker feel as though “one drink” doesn’t do anything. In fact, a single serving of Four Loko is equivalent to 4.7 glasses of wine.

Alcohol isn’t the only issue either. According to the the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in 2016, 1,017,808 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. So when it comes to the title of founder or business owner, how exactly could your personal life and professional life be affected by a DUI?

According to the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016 there was an alcohol-impaired traffic fatality incident every 50 minutes.

You Could Lose Your Position

The hard truth is that the greatest of entrepreneurs can be professionally demolished by something like a DUI. Sam Sharma and Raymond Trapani, founders of Cryptocurrency startup Centra, are perfect examples of this. After the company had raised $32 million, they were indicted by a grand jury on perjury charges, following an incident where Sharma had been caught driving under the influence a year prior. Both Sharma and Trapani had testified that they knew Sharma had had too much to drink before he got in the vehicle. As a result, both founders had to step down, and will likely face serious complications finding investors in the future.

Seeking Representation

One of the first things you want to do as a founding individual in a startup is to seek representation. Believe ir or not, sometimes that are extenuating circumstances that could help you in what feels like a hopeless case.

DUI lawyer Dan Noll says, “At first, it may seem like fighting your DUI is a lost cause. Many people simply walk into court and plead guilty without understanding the consequences of pleading guilty to a Driving Under the Influence charge. However, there are many ways to fight a DUI and keep your driving privileges.”

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, the first thing you should do is seek proper legal representation, and preferably a lawyer who specializes in DUIs. A great attorney will be able to lessen the impact a DUI has on your life, and mitigate the effects of a potential conviction.

You Might Have to Call Office Hours Quits

Once you’ve been hit with a DUI, you run the risk of having your driving privileges suspended. For entrepreneurs who are expected to drive to and from the office, meet with clients, or meet with investors, this can be crippling for your bottom line and ability to stick to plans. Of course, if you live in cities with great public transportation, this might not be as big of an issue. However, it’s something you should consider either way.

Your State Might Be Very Harsh

All states handle DUI charges differently, but they all have one thing in common: they don’t take it lightly. If you have more than one DUI, and your mistakes seem habitual, you could have your license revoked altogether, which, as previously mentioned, could impact your ability to transport to and from important meetings and offices. However, some states are so strict that even just one DUI could result in jail time, depending on the circumstances.

Aside from potential jail time, you could also be forced to attend alcohol education meetings, submit to court-ordered alcohol tests at random, pay fees, get on probation, and have to attend various counseling sessions. As you can imagine, these “punishments” can also have a negative effect on your ability to properly put your time and effort into your business.

Less Money to Put Into Your Business

As an entrepreneur, you’re likely using some of your own savings to fund your business. But if you’re caught driving another the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face serious trouble giving your business the financial attention it deserves. Once you get a DUI, your insurance rates skyrocket. After all, insurance rates are calculated by a variety of factors, and one of those factors is risk. People who have been given a DUI are considered a massive risk.

Your Reputation Takes a Hit

In addition to all the other penalties you face, your reputation will definitely take a hit. Having a DUI isn’t just risk to insurance companies—it’s risky to investors, too. Many investors aren’t willing to work with someone who’s liable to make bad mistakes that could impact their own lives, the lives of others, and lifeline of their own business. A DUI also speaks volumes for your character and sense of judgement.

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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