What Happens to My Small Business if I am charged with a DUI?


A DUI conviction can seem difficult to overcome in the immediate aftermath, and it can be even more worrisome if you are wondering how the DUI will impact your business. While there is no exact step-by-step guide for how to recover after a DUI, we’ll examine a few areas that may be affected by your DUI conviction and how you can recover from a business standpoint.

Impacts of a Minnesota DUI

If you are convicted of a DUI in MN, or if you simply refused the breathalyzer test, you will have your driver’s license revoked. This can make it difficult for business owners to get to their store or office, and to deliver products for their business if they don’t live in a metro area with public transportation. The courts have taken this into consideration, and depending on your Blood Alcohol Content and other factors, you may be eligible for what’s known as a “limited license”. A limited license acts as a work permit that allows the holder to operate a motor vehicle during set periods of time and for specific work-related purposes. With that said, the limited license may not allow you to drive around town for business deliveries, but it will allow you to get to your store or office so you can manage all the other important day-to-day operations.

Another way a DUI conviction may impact your business is if you are forced to serve jail time, appear in court, or have specific probation conditions. While it may not directly impact your business if other employees can manage the store, you might be forced to hire more employees to manage in your absence. Some common probation sentences that may cut into your normal work routine include:

  • Meetings with probation officer
  • Alcohol Education/Information meetings
  • Random alcohol tests
  • Attending MADD or other alcohol support counseling sessions

DUI and Your Insurance

Everyone knows that a DUI conviction can carry serious financial consequences, and one major way you will be impacted is through your insurance premiums.

When you are convicted of a DUI, it will be posted on your driving record. Your record is submitted and monitored by automobile insurance companies so they can appropriately adjust your premiums. Once they become aware of your DUI conviction, the insurer will raise you rate or they may drop you all together. If you are dropped by your carrier, you can shop around to find a new auto policy, but again, you will be charged at a higher rate. This could impact your business in a variety of ways, from less overhead cash for supplies, to needing to find alternate transportation if you decide coverage is too expensive.

However, a DUI conviction will not impact most business-related insurances, like product liability, commercial property insurance, or general liability. The greatest economic impact is felt through auto insurance premiums.

Recovering from the Social Stigma of a DUI as a Business Owner

Your reputation in the community might take a hit after a DUI conviction, and so might your business in the short-term, but there are ways to seek forgiveness in the public’s eye. As always, being genuine about your mistake will go a long way in making amends. Some ways to help alleviate the “social stigma” include:

Writing to the local paper

Depending on the size of your town, there may have been a story about your conviction in the local paper. You might think this will kill your business, but local newspapers are often a forum for sharing thoughts and opinions. If your conviction was well known, consider writing a letter to the editor or taking out a small space to issue an apology. In your letter, show genuine remorse for your decision and re-affirm how important the local community is to your business.

Donate money to a school for alcohol awareness

If you are in a community that has a local high school, consider donating money to the school to be used for alcohol awareness. Many schools bring in speakers or set up DUI crash simulations during Homecoming or Prom Week activities, and helping fund these costs can show that you are focused on preventing teens from making a similar mistake.

Implement a safe-ride program

If you operate a bar or restaurant where alcohol is sold, consider implementing a safe-ride program. Sometimes taxis and other forms of public transportation aren’t available to customers at all hours of the day, so talk with a taxi company to ensure that patrons can always get home safe. Showing others that you care about their safety can help curb the social stigma associated with a DUI conviction.

If you are facing a DUI charge, speak with a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense to ensure you have the best legal representation. A DUI conviction may seem like the end of the world, especially to small business owners, but it’s important to remember that you can bounce back if you handle the conviction appropriately.

Avery Appelman of Appelman Law Firm is a criminal defense attorney in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He specializes in DUI defense, as well as other drug and traffic crimes. He has over 16 years of legal experience and holds a J.D. from Syracuse University. When he’s not working for his clients, Avery enjoys coaching youth hockey and soccer. You can learn more about Avery and Appelman Law Firm at www.aacriminallaw.com.

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