Having one more for the road might just cost you the vehicle. Everyone is aware of the dangers of drinking and driving but few realize the financial impacts of a DUI. Driving under the influence is the major cause of all road accidents in the US but the financial storm that hits the driver after the incident is crippling by itself. From courts and attorney fees to classes and insurance, the experience will make you think twice before having another round with the guys.
The expensive penalties are kept that way to discourage continued alcohol abuse. In 2009, drinking and driving was the reason behind 32% of all automobile fatalities, that is, one alcohol-induced-driving fatality every 40 minutes. There have been 1.4 million alcohol related arrests. In this article, we won’t talk about the human toll of the DUI or the humiliation and the troubles taken to come back to a normal life. We’ll only cover monetary setbacks that the individuals and families have to suffer through getting a DUI. The costs shown below are for first time offenders and for those under 0.15 percent blood alcohol content. Repeats cost considerably higher.
Bail: A bail could set you back $150 - $2,500. The increase in amount comes when a bonding company is involved.
Towing: The cost mostly depends on the place where you get arrested. For example, in Chicago, it’s $1,200 for the first day and $50 per day after. After 30 days, the car gets auctioned off and if the price does not cover the impoundment bill, you’ll be slapped with a civil suit. Costs of towing: $100 - $1,200
Insurance: This is a long term penalty (at least 3 -5 years); ensuring you never forget that silly night. They could possibly triple or even quadruple with some companies considering you high-risk or dropping you altogether. This could also affect premiums of other products.
And during these three to five years, there should be no other violations; speeding tickets or any other traffic citations. After completion, you might have to wait for another couple of years, without incident before getting back to enjoying low premiums that were enjoyed before. Costs: $4,500 onwards.
Attorney: If it’s a guilty plea, then the costs could be limited to $250. But with so much to lose, many opt to fight the charge. And, then it gets expensive from $2,500 to $7,500 (for the first trial) depending on the attorney and case specifics. You might need to hire an external investigator and expert witnesses putting you back another significant amount. Total costs: $2,000 - $25,000
Fines: Fines and court fees vary from state to state. While in Chicago, the rates have gone up recently to $1,200, it could be $700 in Washington. Costs: $300 - $1,200
Alcohol Evaluation: Required of persons getting DUI. Cost: $250
Education: This sometimes extends to alcohol treatment. Very variable. Costs: $150 - $2,000
Additional: Depending on state, there may be additional fines on jail filing, victim assistance, victim compensation, brain injury surcharge, victim impact panel assessment and law enforcement assistance altogether costing anywhere between $250 to $350. The judge might order you to install an ignition lock in your vehicle which prevents it from starting if you’re drunk. That’s around $75 to $1,250 per month depending on state. And then there are alcohol monitoring leg bracelets costing $100 to install and $10 per day.
License reinstatement fees: To get the license, back, the cost is $95 - $250.
Non Monetary: Lost pay for not being able to join work full-time. It does not look good on the resume. Employers looking at backgrounds checks will not appreciate the DUI.
Altogether it simply pays not to drink and drive. The total costs start from $10,000 and that’s in cheaper states. Besides the financial burden, there is also the social and employment cost that will hurt prospects for a very long time.
by Elijah Litscher
Quest Products Inc