Whether you had a lapse in judgment or thought you were fine after one drink, you may find yourself facing charges of driving while intoxicated. A conviction comes with serious penalties, such as steep fines, possible jail time and alcohol education programs.

A common consequence is losing your driving privileges. This can mean more than just losing your license, however, as not being able to drive can affect many areas of your life.

License suspension or revocation

If you refuse to take a breath test or fail the test (results higher than the legal limit of 0.08%), then the police will take away your license and give you a temporary permit. You will have only 15 days to request a hearing to dispute the suspension or revocation. Otherwise, it becomes effective 40 days after the incident. Once the term is up and you have met all conditions, you can apply for license reinstatement.

Ignition interlock device

In some cases, you may only be able to regain driving privileges if you install an ignition interlock device to prevent you from driving drunk again. You must also obtain a restricted interlock license that shows you can only drive the vehicle with the IID.

Occupational license

Most likely, you rely on driving to get to your job. Losing this privilege can hurt your employment if you cannot find other means of transportation. You may be able to apply for an occupational license so that you can keep working despite the suspension or revocation. This license also allows you to attend school and run necessary errands.

This option is worth looking into, as using public transportation or ridesharing services is inconvenient, costly and perhaps not even available. Even family and friends are not always reliable or willing to help. With so many effects of losing your driver’s license, it is important to have a strong defense from the beginning to try to avoid this consequence in the first place.