Think you know how expensive driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) convictions are? That all they carry are big fines and attorney fees, right? Think again!
Drunk Driving Can Drain Your Bank Account
Just take a look at some of the costs associated with DUI and DWI:
- Fines: In addition to a typical (and expensive) DUI or DWI fine, some states charge additional fines and fees. Generally, these go toward drug and alcohol awareness programs, neighborhood programs, and the like.
- Legal Fees: A DWI lawyer doesn’t come cheap. Sure, you could go the public defender route, but if you want the best shot at getting the best possible deal, it’s a good idea to pony up for a criminal attorney skilled in DUI cases.
- Court Costs: Going to court costs money – even if you accept a plea agreement up front.
- School and Counseling Costs: If your judge orders you to enroll in a certain driver improvement school or alcohol and drug counseling program, you might have to pay for it.
- Ignition Interlock Costs: Some states require offenders to pay for ignition interlock devices out of their own pockets.
- Public transportation costs: Not lucky enough to get an ignition interlock device? Then you’ll have to take the bus, subway, train, or a taxi to get from Point A to Point B, and those costs add up.
- License Reinstatement Fees: Generally, a DUI conviction brings a suspended license (depending on the offense number, the state might revoke your license). You’re the one who has to pay to get the license reinstated.
- Car Insurance Increases: You can bet your insurance provider will increase your rates once it’s time to renew and the company sees a DUI offense.
Some states estimate first-time DUI offenses at thousands of dollars.
DUI Costs Go Beyond Fines and Fees
Below are just a few of the DUI- and DWI-related consequences that can seriously inconvenience (and even change) your life:
- You might spend time in jail, leaving your family and occupation hanging.
- You could lose your job after a drunk driving conviction.
- A suspended license pretty much means you’re not going anywhere unless it’s by public transportation or a family member or friend has time to drive you.
- You now have a criminal record and, depending on the offense number, you could have a felony. Getting a job with a felony is tough stuff.
- You’ve entered high-risk status, which means car insurance providers are either going to charge monumental rates or deny you coverage altogether.
- You could take another human being’s life. No matter how much money you pay or how much time you spend in jail, that never changes.
Have you ever had a DUI or DWI conviction? How did it affect your life? Any advice for fellow drivers?