What Are The Legal Consequences Of A Drunken Driving or Driving Under The Influence Conviction

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When you are charged with criminal charges such as drunken driving, the State must prove the case against you beyond a reasonable doubt during trial.

If you are convicted for drunken driving, or driving under the influence of alcohol, whether it is after a lengthy trial or after a guilty plea, the conviction may have a severe impact on your life and on the lives of your loved ones.

Prosecutors often add additional charges to the drunken driving charge, these include, but are not limited to; Reckless or Negligent Driving or even worse, Culpable Homicide (or murder) if someone died as a result of your actions.

If the matter proceeds to trial, the consequences are many and they may include: -

  • Time away from your job to attend Consultations and Court Appearances;
  • Legal fees;
  • The risk to your Professional Status;
  • The emotional turmoil and stress of dealing with the impending trial.

Facing these consequences are much better than being convicted.

If the Magistrate convicts you for drunken driving, they can sentence you to up to 6 years imprisonment or a fine of R120 000.

Should you be convicted of any additional charges you may face even harsher sentences. Being convicted is not something that you should take lightly as the consequences may be severe.

Upon conviction you will have a criminal record, and sentencing may impact you in different ways in the future:

  • You may go to jail and or have to pay a hefty fine;
  • You will have a criminal record for ten years;
  • An employer or prospective employer may decide not to employ you due to your criminal record;
  • Loss of status;
  • Suspension of your driver’s licence;
  • If you are a professional driver you may lose your job;
  • You may not be able to go on international holidays as some Countries will refuse you entry permission (or Visa) based on your criminal record;
  • If you decide to emigrate from South Africa, your criminal record may prevent you from moving across international borders.

It is important for you to consider the appointment of a competent Attorney that can represent you if you are arrested for drunken driving.

Don’t base your decision to engage an Attorney on your current ability to afford their legal fees, but rather consider the long-term effects of a criminal conviction.

We will be in the best position to assist you during this difficult process, and whilst no Attorney can guarantee an outcome, it is best for you not to face these charges alone.


Martin Vermaak

Practising Attorney

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