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Kentucky takes drunk driving very seriously. Even your first offense can land you up to 30 days in jail — and the penalties go up from there. Aside from fines, court fees, lost work days and a steep insurance hike, however, a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can cost you something much more dear: your career.

Here’s why a DUI conviction can be fatal to any career-minded professional:

  1. You could be seen having poor character. All employers make judgment calls about applicants. That’s the purpose of a background check. Seeing a DUI conviction on your record may cause a potential employer to wonder if you’re an alcoholic or somebody who just flouts the rules — neither of which is favorable.
  2. You could fail to get car insurance. If your job requires you to travel, you may not be able to get the right insurance coverage with a DUI on your record.
  3. You could fail to pass a security clearance. Some companies won’t allow anyone with a criminal record to work for them. They may be required to handle sensitive information. Other jobs, which require you to have access to controlled substances, may see a DUI conviction as a major “red flag.”
  4. You could lose your professional license (or be denied one). Whether you’re still working toward a professional license or already have one, licensing boards typically have morality rules. A conviction could also interrupt your livelihood.

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, don’t wait — talk to an experienced defense attorney about your legal options and how to protect your rights.