As we head into the heart of the Holiday season, many companies will host Holiday parties for their staff and/or customers. Unfortunately, these parties may lead to unforeseen consequences. On December 30, 2006, the Birmingham News published an article entitled "Driving Under the Influence Can be a Costly Mistake, Lawyers Warn". Although the article is almost 2 years old, the lessons to be learned are still worthy of review and still apply today. Here is the article:
12/30/06 Birmingham News (AL) 2
2006 WLNR 22804987
Birmingham News (AL)
Copyright 2006 Birmingham News. All Rights Reserved.
December 30, 2006
Section: LOCAL NEWS
Driving under the influence can be a costly mistake, lawyers warn
WALTER BRYANT News staff writer
If an officer arrests you for driving under the influence of alcohol, get out your checkbook. It could cost you $15,000 before it's all over.
Count on losing your driver license for at least 90 days. And your boss might take a dim view of your DUI, as well.
''I would feel very nervous about having more than a couple of drinks in a one-hour period,'' said Jim Sturdivant, an attorney with the Birmingham firm of Sirote & Permutt. His specialty includes DUI defense. He served as the city prosecutor for Vestavia Hills from 2000 until 2004.
Under Alabama law, a person is considered intoxicated with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent. He said that can result from a single beer, a glass of wine or a mixed drink with at least 1.25 ounces of liquor.
Here's what happens if an officer determines you are driving while intoxicated:
Sturdivant said your license is taken, bail to get out of jail might be $2,000 and the fine and court costs could come to $1,000. Other expenses could include $150 towing fee for your car, $3,500 or more for an attorney to mount your defense and, in some cases, $3,000 or more for alcohol treatment.
Your insurance company likely will increase your yearly premium about $1,500. Some companies will drop your coverage entirely. Many cities will take your car to a storage lot and charge a daily fee.
But the direct costs are just the beginning.
Daniel J. Burnick, who is head of Sirote & Permutt's Labor and Employment Section, said employers take an increasingly dim view of alcohol related problems.
Tardiness and absenteeism cut productivity and co-workers can become resentful if they have to work harder to take up the slack caused by someone who is absent.
A lost license means you cannot legally drive a delivery or service truck. Employers could block use of a company car after a DUI because the company could be held liable in an accident. Without a license, renting a car is impossible.
Some professionals, such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, attorneys and pilots, can lose their licenses to practice after a DUI.
Burnick said he counsels clients who have received a DUI to immediately report it to an employer. He said there may be penalties, but it's better to be honest with your boss immediately than for him to find out about your DUI on his own.
A DUI on your record could also keep you from getting a job or promotion, Sturdivant said, because some employers may view it as a symptom of a deeper personal problem.
Because of the immediate and long-term impact of the charge, he said, drivers should take the issue seriously.
''A DUI is a huge mistake,'' he said.
---- INDEX REFERENCES ----
NEWS SUBJECT: (Crime (1CR87); Legal (1LE33); Social Issues (1SO05); Criminal Law (1CR79); Automobile Crime (1AU99))
OTHER INDEXING: (DUI; SIROTE PERMUTT) (Burnick; Count; Daniel J. Burnick; Jim Sturdivant; Sturdivant; Tardiness)
Word Count: 526
12/30/06 BRMINGHAMN 2
END OF DOCUMENT
Practice pointer. Leaving a holiday party, or any company function, while under the influence can have a devastating impact on both the company and the employee. Don't do it!