DUI’s Cost a lot. Even if you are not guilty and found not guilty, they cost a lot. The prosecutors and police officer’s know this. I had a prosecutor tell me that they would rather try the case and lose, than to dismiss a case against a man whose breath alcohol level was .06, which is below the legal limit to drive. Another prosecutor told me after he lost a DUI case, "well, at least he had to pay you." What a vindictive outlook. The costs are great. However, I truly believe that the costs can be minimized by hiring a lawyer. A lawyer may cost a lot in the short run, but can save a lot in the long run. That is if you have an attorney that is willing to put up the fight. Here’s an article about costs that I stumbled on recently.
Twenty thousand dollars sounds like a lot to pay for a drink at a holiday party, but if that last cocktail puts you over the legal limit, that "one for the road" could easily cost you that or more.
And that’s only considering the potential financial cost of being ticketed for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated, better known as DUI or DWI, never mind the staggering financial blow if you cause an accident — or the emotional devastation if your actions cause injuries or worse.
With the holidays upon us, early December through the new year is one of the worst times for drinking and driving. In fact, December is National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, or NHTSA, 17,602 people were killed in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes alone in 2006 and alcohol-related crashes cost about $51 billion every year. In 2005, a whopping 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence.
One drink too many puts you at risk for not only an arrest, but also for fees, fines and costs that can run you thousands of dollars. While a DUI or DWI may be a misdemeanor charge in a number of jurisdictions, it’s a matter that most judges and district attorneys take very seriously. The financial toll of a conviction will play out for years to come, and in many states that can add up to $20,000 before everything is over. This includes bail, fines, legal fees, increased auto insurance premiums, loss of work income, court-ordered alcohol education programs and more.
Of course, if you get fired from your job as a result of the arrest, that dollar figure would skyrocket.
Potential expenses from a DUI — first offense
You don’t even have to get convicted to start running up expenses on a DUI charge. But if you’re found guilty, a first offense could mean that last drink cost you dearly. While the amounts vary by location and specific circumstances, here are some of the expenses you may realize:
• Fines. • Court costs.
• Attorney fees. • Bail.
• Loss of job. • DUI "school."
• Temporary loss of income. • Car towing, impounding.
• Alternate transportation costs. • Car ignition interlock device.
• Periodic blood testing. • Monthly monitoring fees.
• Cost of incarceration. • Increased auto insurance premiums.
The financial impact of a DUI arrest on any one person can vary greatly depending on many factors, such as driving record, jurisdiction, blood-alcohol level, attorney fees and fines, not to mention the specific circumstances of the incident and whether there was an accident or if anyone was injured.
The Texas Department of Transportation says a June 2006 survey in that state showed the total costs of a DWI arrest and conviction — for a first time offender with no accident involved — would range from $9,000 to $24,000.
And while expenses can vary substantially by jurisdiction, in no city is a DUI charge cheap.
In 2000, when graduate student Kate S. was driving home from a party in Woodstock, Ga., she was involved in an accident. She was not found to be at fault for the mishap, but blood tests at the hospital later revealed she was over the legal alcohol limit and she was booked on a DUI charge. Some costs Kate had to pay included a $2,500 fine, approximately $3,000 in legal fees and insurance premiums that rose an additional $600 per year for the next five years.
"As part of my sentence, I had to go to what they call ‘DUI school,’ and one of the things we had to do was tally up how much