Most of us know that driving under the influence of alcohol is criminal and dangerous. However, if you get caught by law enforcement officials, it could also prove to be an expensive mistake that can have a huge impact on your finances. There’s more to getting a DUI than just paying the fines associated with your charge. Here are the true costs of getting a DUI so you have a better idea just how much it might cost you.
Again, fines aren’t the only thing you’ll have to worry about with a DUI, but they are one of the first things that comes to mind. You probably won’t be able to get away without paying a fine even if it is your first DUI. For a first time regular DUI, the minimum fine is $1500 (not including the cost of jail).
Once you are arrested, law enforcement isn’t going to let you get back behind the wheel, so it’s likely your vehicle will be towed and impounded. The fees for getting your vehicle towed and out of impound could range from $200 to $400 or more.
Having a good Phoenix DUI lawyer is essential when you are faced with DUI charges, but a good lawyer comes at a price. Attorney fees can run you anywhere from nothing (if you decide not to hire a lawyer, but I don’t recommend that) to $4,000 or more. If this isn’t your first DUI, or if there are other charges, you will probably pay more. In addition, if the case goes to trial you can expect to tack on an additional $5,000 to your legal bill as a trial fee to your attorney and paying the costs to hire an expert to testify on your behalf.
At sentencing the court will require you to complete alcohol treatment and education. The higher your blood alcohol content the more hours of classes you will have to complete. This can add anywhere from $100 to $750 to your costs.
The Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) will suspend your license for a minimum of 90 days. During the first 30 days of the suspension there is no driving. You will have to employ a driver, take the bus or use a taxi service. On day 31 of the suspension you can obtain a restricted license. To get your restricted license you will have to complete an alcohol screening. This costs approximately $65. When the 90 days is over you will then have to pay a $60 reinstatement fee to get your license back.
An ignition interlock device could be installed for 12-24 months depending on the severity of the DUI. The ignition interlock costs approximately $100 per month.
You can expect to see a hike in your insurance premiums following a DUI conviction. This will easily cost you between $3,000 and $5,000 because you will be labeled as a higher risk driver by your insurance company.
The cost that most people forget about is the time they have to take off from work for the various appointments with lawyers, court dates, rehab programs, and the fact that they can’t drive to get to work. Loss of income can vary greatly depending on your wage or salary at your job, but as a minimum, you can expect from $1,000 to $5,000 in lost wages. If your job depends on you having a clean driving record and/or a clean criminal record, you might even lose your job, which would increase the cost of your lost wages significantly.
As you can see, the amount of money you will spend from getting a DUI is several thousand dollars, making your bar bill and the cost of a taxi fade into insignificance. If you are underage or there are other offenses in addition to the DUI, expect costs to increase accordingly. And let’s not forget the damage done to your personal and professional relationships. So, what is the true cost of getting a DUI? I hope you never find out. Taking a taxi or calling a designated driver is definitely worth the cost savings instead of driving and risking a DUI.
What other costs can you think of associated with a DUI conviction?