The common driving advice people usually give and hear is: don’t drink and drive. It sounds easy, right?
Unfortunately, not all drivers follow this advice. Rather, they refuse to keep themselves safe from drinking and driving. Sure, they are aware that drinking and driving is both dangerous and illegal. However, they tend to forget the true costs of drunk driving.
Drunk driving is a dangerous, yet a recurrent undertaking in the United States. It causes hundreds and thousands of deaths annually, results in grave penalties, and presents life-altering consequences.
People who get convicted for drinking and driving shall experience multiple court appearances, earn a criminal record, and great dishonor. Moreover, getting convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) can cost you a lot.
The True Cost of Drunk Driving
A DUI does not come cheap. If you are found guilty of this crime, you are compelled to pay financially, professionally, and legally. These consequences can go on for years, and in some state laws, for the rest of your life. The true costs of DUI for first-time offenders are classified after a number of factors depending on the state.
● Court Fees: Court fees also play a major a role in this case, although the expenses may differ by state. On average, the costs extend between $250 to $1,500. Further, hiring a DUI lawyer may cost an excessive fee of $2,000. However, getting a legal representative may save you from additional fees and a costly conviction.
● Costs for License Reinstatement and Formal Hearing: Generally, fees for first-time offenders range from $250 to $500. This includes license reinstatement fees and costs for a formal hearing. Meanwhile, some states demand your attendance in alcohol abuse classes which may cost additional fees around $100 to $500.
● Increased insurance rates: Insurance companies consider DUI offenders as high risk drivers. Thus, your rates will eventually increase for around three years. If you are yet involved in another vehicular accident, then insurance costs will skyrocket. Likewise, you will have to pay for damages to property and injuries. Moreover, insurance companies will likely cancel your coverage if you get convicted for a DUI. Although, there are insurance firms that will cover high-risk drivers but it comes with expensive insurance premiums.
Fees & Fines Associated With A DUI
The estimated fines of drunk driving include.
● Penalty Assessment: $666
● Alcohol Abuse Education Fees: $50
● State Restitution: $100
● Jail Citation and Release Fee: $10
● Blood Breath Testing Fee: $37
● License Reissue Fee: $100
● Driving Alcohol School: $500
● Towing and Storage: $187
The total cost for the fines above is $1,650. Although, the fines, fees, and penalties differ greatly by country and state.
Fees For Multiple Convictions
Some DUI lawbreakers cannot seem to learn their lesson the first time and commit another offense. Drivers convicted of two or multiple DUIs face severe and tougher penalties, including extended jail sentences.
● Two-time offenders: For instance, two-time lawbreakers in Arizona experience imprisonment at 90-days minimum, community service, $3,000 fine, suspended license, and an admission into an alcohol education program.
● Three-time offenders: Drivers convicted of DUI for the third time face expensive fines, grave penalties including longer jail sentences, potential seizure of their vehicle, and termination of their license. For instance, three-time offenders in Florida in a span of ten years may lead to 10-year suspension of their license, minimum of 30-day jail sentence, and fines ranging from $2,000-$5,000.
● Four-time offenders: Drivers found guilty of DUI for the fourth time (within 10 months of their third offense) shall face 16 months in jail, four-year license suspension, and around $18,000 overall fines.
● DUI in a school zone: Likewise, drivers convicted for DUI in a school zone also lead to grave fines and penalties in all states.
Moreover, multiple offenses lead to extended jail sentences, heftier fines, community service, and further suspensions.
What To Do Legally If You Get Involved In DUI
If you were pulled over and got accused of DUI by the police, then you are most likely panicking inside your head. There are three things you can do legally if you get involved in a DUI.
- Document Everything
You may win or lose you DUI case because of the details presented in your case. You must write down every detail including prior to your driving until you were pulled over by the police. Do it right at that moment because your memory may fade overtime. Also, essential details can favor your case.
- Look For Potential Witnesses
Witnesses can help strengthen your case, thus you must gather as many potential witnesses as you can. Also, record your witnesses’ names and contact details. Ask them if they are willing to make a statement. Moreover, a non-drunk alibi witness can make a big difference between not guilty and guilty.
- Hire a competent DUI lawyer
Hiring the best DUI lawyer who can defend you in court is the most crucial decision you can make. Look for a lawyer that has extensive training and experience in DUI cases. Should you get a trial attorney, or a plea attorney? Take time to research and meet a few attorneys before committing to one lawyer. Also, ensure that you ask them regarding their experience in forensic science before formulating a final decision.
Conclusion: Getting convicted and arrested for drunk driving is more than just an embarrassing moment. It involves excessive costs, and the DUI legal procedure can be both a nuisance and a very stressful experience. If you are facing a DUI, contact an attorney to help you with the case and also become knowledgeable in the legal proceedings. If you want to gain more information about this subject, you can click here.
Author Bio: Frances Bussard is a businesswoman and legal writer who’s equipped with more than 20 years of experience. She writes pieces on various law topics that she hopes could help the common reader with their concerns. Frances always appreciates a good book and is often reading a new book whenever she has the time.