Life After A DUI: Rebuilding Your Life After a DUI Conviction

by Aaron M. Black • May 15, 2023

Your DUI incarceration ordeal is in the past. Now it is time to jumpstart a fresh beginning and begin a normal life again. Did the DUI happen as a first offense because of a one-time misjudgment while out on the town with friends, or was it from a pattern of substance abuse due to alcohol addiction? Do you look back and think, "That was the worst night of my life?"

Regardless of the past behavior that led to your drunk driving, DUI arrest by the police, DUI conviction, and what surely feels like spending a year in court, not to mention the jail time, the road to taking your life back involves making changes. The biggest thing you need to know is you do not have to make those changes alone, there is help available to you.

Have a Support System

Regardless of if your DUI conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony, your family and friends can be influential in your road to achieving better judgment or sobriety and repairing the damage to your life. Bring your bad choice or addiction issues into the open. It may have been that family, classmates, coworkers, and even your best buddy were not aware of your issues because you were disguising your abuse. Being honest with them now will go a long way toward earning their forgiveness and achieving their much-needed support.

Consider entering a counseling, therapy program, or support group to help you address the issues that you have. Consider joining Alcoholics Anonymous and attending its meetings, and hearing stories of other people who have gotten their life back. Many of those meetings will be filled with other newly sober people. In this approach, you will find comfort in knowing you are not fighting for your sobriety alone and will have additional help as you progress on your recovery.

Man and Therapist in Counseling Session

Picking Up The Pieces: Change Your Behavior

Here are some ideas to help you change your behavior that have worked for many...
  • Avoid social triggers. Are co-workers going out to a bar after clocking out? Respectfully decline the invitation to their social activity. Sorry, but that's one of the penalties newly sober people must endure.
  • Engage in physical activities. If you gained some weight in jail or stopped going to the gym because you lost your license, find a way to exercise at home, even if it's just walking the neighborhood.
  • Mindfulness meditation is a great thing to distract your mind from your negative emotions related to your DUI conviction. You'll want to keep a positive outlook and a clear head to avoid the emotional effects of the charge.
  • New Hobbies are a great way to keep your mind off of your drinking problem, avoiding a downward spiral, and stay a sober person.
  • Community service may reduce your feelings of guilt if your DUI arrest has harmed others. Here's a link to a good resource for volunteer opportunities in Arizona.
  • Another resource is

The most important thing is to stop drinking and don't break any more DUI laws. You do not want to repeat the drunk drivers, police, arrest, court cases, and jail time cycle.
Anything that will distract you from the call of alcohol is probably better for you than drinking again. If you get the urge, go to group support meetings and talk with people who have changed their lives for the better. Whatever drives you to drink, find a new safe alternative that avoids another DUI conviction.

You Aren't The First, and Won't Be The Last Arrested for DUI

Plenty of famous people have carried on with their lives after DUI arrests. For example, Paris Hilton, Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods, and our very own Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd who was cut from the roster after his DUI arrest. Their lives were changed forever by the consequences of drunk driving.

Influence of Probation

If your case requires a term of probation after release, it can be beneficial even though it is designed to be restrictive. Probation includes obeying all laws and not engaging or participating in any criminal behavior or associating with those who are a bad influence. These requirements will help you adjust to a new regimen.

Reinstating Your Driver’s License

Losing your driver's license because of your DUI is life-changing. Your license to drive is the lifeline to a better future in finding a job and holding it, which will be difficult. You will need to depend upon family, friends, and public transit. The way out of these situations is winning back your license to drive.

Suspended Drivers License

Your driver’s license is still under suspension or perhaps revoked, but, with time and effort, you can get your driver's license reinstated, which is a key component for rebuilding your life.

To do so, you will need to finish the mandatory DUI classes and treatment programs required by the law, pay the fees required, and have the ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle.

After all these conditions are completed, along with SR-22 insurance covered in the next paragraph, you will need to request a hearing with your state's Motor Vehicle Division. If approved, you then reapply for your license.

Keep in mind the benefits of getting your license back...
  • Work opportunities will expand as you can travel more freely.
  • Dating will be a whole lot less embarrassing when you can pick up your date.
  • Not having to bum rides from family.
  • Road trip vacations to Washington.
  • And the biggest thing is the freedom of not being stuck at home.

"Drunk Driver" Insurance After A DUI

You may need to have SR-22 insurance. This is not an actual car insurance policy issued by insurance companies, so do not be fooled by the name. It’s a certificate that serves as your proof of auto insurance.

SR stands for “Safety Responsibility. You will need to pay a small fee to have this certificate on file with the state’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) so you can begin driving again once the suspension or revocation period of your driver’s license is over. If you don’t have a vehicle, you will need to have a non-owner SR-22. The SR-22 certificate shows that you have high-risk insurance in the amount of coverage required by law.

The length of time you’ll need an SR-22 is usually three years, or a judge can alter the time. An additional DUI conviction can increase the allotted time to five years.

Insurance premiums suddenly being much more expensive is one of yet another set of penalties as the insurance companies charge much more for high-risk drivers with a criminal history. Attending and completing DUI classes may ease some of the sting of your new high-priced insurance.

Recent Changes to Felony DUI Law

For those who were convicted of a felony, there is a path to rebuilding their lives even though they now have a criminal record. The changes involve laws under House Bill 2673, cited as the “Arizona Judicial Discretion Act,” which addresses the harshness of aggravated DUI law and driver license points and license expungement. Senate Bill 1334 eases driver's license suspension and restrictions.


A “historical” prior conviction means that any prior felony conviction required a term of imprisonment for aggravated driving or actual physical control while under the influence.
“The imposition of the mandatory prison sentence would result in an injustice to the defendant. The mandatory prison sentence is not necessary for the protection of the public,” states the bill.

HB 2673 also eliminates this subsection of law that stated Arizona “shall not dismiss a charge even though there is insufficient legal or factual basis to pursue the charge.” So, a felony aggravated DUI is no longer a forever prior offense, which resulted in an increased prison sentence.

Therefore, prosecutorial agencies can no longer rely on this statute as an excuse not to plea DUIs to lesser crimes.

Employment & Housing Challenges

With your DUI conviction comes additional penalties and challenges until your record is expunged. For example, employment background checks will show that you have a drunk driving conviction and a criminal record.

Ditto for background checks when applying to rent an apartment or home. Your criminal history will be revealed.

The important thing to remember is with the change in DUI laws in Arizona, you will eventually get your record cleared.

Aaron M. Black Law for DUI defense

Should you or someone you care for be charged or are under investigation for a DUI, it is imperative that you have an experienced DUI defense attorney such as myself to defend you at the earliest possible time.

During my long career as a DUI defense attorney, I know that good people can find themselves in legal trouble, and that is why I ensure they have the best defense possible. My goal is always to win a dismissal.

Aaron M. Black Law provides personalized legal services. You will always be talking directly to me at every stage of your DUI case. My goal is always to have all charges dismissed.
Begin your DUI defense immediately by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day, and I will respond promptly unless I am in court or at a trial. Or use the online contact form on my website.

I defend DUI cases throughout Arizona, those that happen in the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale and are tried in Maricopa, Pinal, Yavapai, and Coconino County Superior Courts.

This concludes the DUI series, here are the links to the previous blog posts
  1. The DUI Arrest
  2. How to Choose a DUI Attorney
  3. The DUI Arraignment: Standing Before a Judge
  4. Arizona DUI Sentencing and Judicial Discretion in DUI Cases
  5. Jail Time for DUI in Arizona After a Conviction
  6. Life After A DUI: Rebuilding Your Life After a DUI Conviction (this blog post)

About the Author

Aaron Black Phoenix DUI LawyerAaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal defense matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes, and white-collar crime cases.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI Attorney and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.
Google Screened Attorney - Phoenix DUI and Criminal Defense
We've just been vetted by Google screening. This process provides peace of mind to consumers that the attorney they are choosing passes both business and personal background checks, has malpractice insurance, and has a current license to practice law in the state.


Subscribe to the RSS feed

DUI or Criminal Related Question?
Send me an email.

I will promptly respond unless I am in court.