The final cost of a DUI depends on many different factors, but even first-time offenders can expect to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get their life back to normal. In addition to the long list of fines and fees, a convicted driver will also have to pay huge insurance premiums once they are able to reinstate their license. Those who drive for a living or use a company car might even lose their job or find that their career has come to a halt. Without an experienced DUI lawyer by your side, these charges could change your life for many years to come.
The Initial Fines and Fees
Within just a few hours of being charged with a DUI, you might find yourself dealing with thousands of dollars in expenses such as paying bail or getting your vehicle out of the impound lot. While some of those costs might be returned to you if you win your case, many people go into debt simply to get their life back on track. For most first-time offenders, the initial fines will quickly rise above $1,000. Repeat offenders are often forced to pay even more than that simply to reinstate their license or apply for a restricted license so that they can continue going to work.
Ignition Interlock Cost and Other Ongoing Expenses
The initial fines that come from the DMV and courthouse are only the tip of the iceberg, and many drivers end up paying thousands of dollars because of the other penalties. After you are able to reinstate your license, you will most likely need to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in your vehicle for five or six months. These small devices are placed just under the dashboard, and you must blow into them whenever you start the vehicle. If you blow into the device and you are above the legal limit, then the IID will record the event. Trying to disable or trick an IID is a serious offense that might result in a long-term license suspension.
Drivers who have been convicted of DUIs or DWIs must also apply for specialized insurance. This type of insurance can be extremely expensive, and many insurance providers even have their own rules regarding who they will give a policy to. Repeat offenders might have to speak with dozens of different companies before they find an agent who will insure them. Due to the high premiums, the DUI cost over ten years can easily reach $30,000 or $40,000 for a single conviction.
Is Traffic School an Option?
Many states allow drivers to go to traffic school to reduce their driving infractions or take points off of their record. For residents who are convicted of driving under the influence, DUI classes might be mandatory. During these classes, you will learn many different tactics to prevent drinking and driving. Unfortunately, you will have to pay for the DUI school out of your own pocket. Some of these schools cost hundreds of dollars and require students to spend hours of their time every week inside a classroom.
While the final cost of a DUI is staggering, these charges can impact other facets of your life as well. Even if you are a first-time offender who is able to beat their charges, you might still end up spending at least a few nights in a jail cell. Depending on the state where you are arrested, you could spend upwards of six months in jail unless you are able to have the charges reduced or removed from your record. Once you are out of jail, you must still pay off all of the other fines and fees. Repeat offenders are generally asked to complete sobriety courses as well, and the tuition for those classes must come out of your pocket.
Beating a DUI Charge
There are many different reasons why you should never leave your DUI up to chance. All it takes is a single mistake, and your airtight case can easily fall apart. Drivers who have been arrested for DUIs or other similar offenses should immediately contact an attorney to explore their legal options. In some counties, drivers have just a few days to begin filing the proper paperwork with the courts and their insurance provider. Before your first hearing, you should spend some time speaking with an attorney to decide how you would like to plead. Even if you think that you don’t have any chance of beating the DUI, it might still be advisable to plead innocent or no contest.
Just because your DUI seems hopeless doesn’t mean that you can’t have the charges reduced or completely tossed out. During a traffic stop, law enforcement officers must follow very specific regulations. Your attorney will carefully go over every aspect of the traffic stop and your arrest to make sure that it was all done legally. That includes combing over information such as the law enforcement officer’s professional history, the calibration of the breathalyzer, and how the sobriety tests were administered. Those who are arrested at a DUI checkpoint might be able to prove that the checkpoint itself was illegally set up.
Working With a DUI Attorney
The steps you take immediately following your arrest could have an impact on your life for many years to come. You should begin by contacting an attorney to schedule a consultation. During this consultation, you will learn more about how this complicated legal process works. You must then schedule a DMV hearing within ten days of your arrest to contend your license suspension or request a restricted license so that you can drive to and from work.
Before your initial arraignment, you and your attorney will need to contact the police department as well to request an official copy of the initial report. The information that is in the police officer’s report will be invaluable to your case, and it might have key data that you will need to discuss with your lawyer before you enter a plea. If the judge believes that there is enough evidence to charge you with a DUI, then the case will transition to a plea bargain or full trial.
Even a slight reduction in the charges could end up saving you thousands of dollars and help you avoid some of the most devastating DUI penalties. Each state has its own laws regarding DUIs, and you might have options such as reducing the charge to a wet reckless or dry reckless. Unlike a DUI, these charges generally require you to do nothing more than pay a fine. You won’t have to worry about having your license suspended for multiple years or spending any time in a jail cell. A driver might even be able to keep those charges off of their record by going to driving school or taking a rehabilitation course.
Protecting Your Future
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous, and that is why so many courts are now making examples out of drivers who are charged with DUIs. In the blink of an eye, you might find yourself dealing with tens of thousands of dollars in ongoing fines and fees. While these situations often feel overwhelming, you must remember to contact an attorney as quickly as possible. With an experienced legal representative by your side, you will have the opportunity to have your charges reduced or dropped entirely. Your attorney will invest their time and energy into your case so that you can focus on moving forward with your life. All it takes is a single phone call, and you can begin the process of protecting your finances and your future.