True Costs of a DUI Charge

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Contact William Sherman

Roswell, GA

Practice Areas: Bankruptcy, Divorce, DUI and DWI

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A DUI charge comes with some of the most damaging penalties of any crime where most offenders actually serve relatively little jail time.  The serious penalties of DUI are partly in effect as a means of highly discouraging this activity.  For people actually aware of the true, all-inclusive cost of a DUI charge, the argument is more than convincing.  For example, studies have revealed that for individuals arrested for driving under the influence, without causing a DUI accident or injuring another, the costs associated with the dui criminal charge will tab-out at an average of well over $10,000.  Considering that most DUI charges are misdemeanor arrests, which are entirely avoidable through the negligible expense of finding a cab or getting a ride, the cost of a DUI charge is really never worth it.  Sadly, however, the Federal Bureau of Investigation notes that 1.37 million drivers were charged with DUI convictions in the last year alone.

Initial Expenses after an Arrest

The first expenses associated with a DUI arrest begin with the car towing fees following being arrested.  Drivers can expect, depending on the jurisdiction, to face towing and impound expenses ranging from a few hundred dollars all the way to over $1,000 dollars in some municipalities seeing a revenue raising opportunity.  Additionally, DUI is a criminal charge that requires booking, holding, and incarceration until arraignment.  Therefore, individuals may have to post bail before being released from police custody pending trial.  The average cost of bail depends on the specific charge, as well as the location of the arrest.  However, these costs generally run drivers between $500 dollars all the way up to $2,500 dollars or more. 

Increased Insurance Costs

Outside of legal and logistical issues, people arrested for DUI now face greater scrutiny, and more financial punishment, from their insurance companies.  Often, many insurance companies will simply drop drivers following a DUI arrest, regardless of conviction.  It’s just not worth the risk to them.  However, in the event a carrier does elect to keep you on their coverage list, the raised premiums, which will last at least three to five years, can end up costing drivers nearly $1,500 dollars annually. Then, there is the question of the impending legal issues, the actual criminal proceedings regarding a DUI case.  DUI legal fees can run from $1,000 to $20,000 depending on the specifics of the case and if there is a DWI trial.  In many instances, hiring private investigators and expert witnesses to assess the case may actually end up costing more than the attorney’s fees themselves. The cost of an attorney is negligible in the grand scheme, and a knowledgeable attorney can be a vital ally throughout the entire process.

Post Trial Fines, Fees and other Expenses

Then, depending on the outcome of the case, convicted individuals will face court mandated fines for the arrest, which depending on the state of arrest, can amount to hundreds and potentially thousands of dollars.  There are the litany of fees associated with reinstating a license and meeting probation terms, including costs of alcohol and substance abuse evaluation, as well as if deemed necessary, mandatory alcohol and drug treatment, which can cost the average person several thousand dollars. Then, there are the random fees imposed by the state and local government, which can add up to hundreds of dollars. 

Other Costly Considerations

All of these quantifiable expenses don’t even take account of issues that people will undoubtedly face following a DUI arrest.  For many individuals, the loss of driving privileges may cause them to outright lose their job, or be unable to commute to their employment.  In other cases, a DUI arrest immediately causes the loss of a professional license. Then, there is the loss of time associated with coping with legal fallout as well.  All in all, DUI is one of the costliest crimes around, and even worse, it is easily one of the most common crimes an individual is arrested for in the United States, as noted by the NHTSA, which states that one in one-hundred-forty licensed drivers will be arrested for DUI in a given year.

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