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Average Costs of a DUI or DWI Arrest and Conviction

A standard drink at the bar is sweet during consumption. But not as sweet as average costs of a DUI.  Please do not ignore your body signals you when getting impaired. This is not all, you feel motivated to drive your way back and ignore the need of a designated driver. There is a good chance that you end up in an at-fault accident.  Or pulled over by an arresting officer for driving under impairment.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released their statistics suggesting that 28 people die from DUI crashes daily.

So what is DUI?

It is driving under the influence of alcohol above the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limits. Most states set up a legal limit of .08 BAC. As a result, it is a crime to drive drunk.

Police officer will arrest the driver after positive BAC tests and field sobriety tests . Also DUI can involve body injuries, property damage and even death.

DUI on your record can cause serious consequences to your live and financial side.

Therefore, always consider the costs of your decisions. Costs can be different: money, health, lives of innocent people that got on your way.

Penalties alone will scare anyone. So most of people don’t know the the totals needed to pay. For now we will count as a financial penalty to help deter drunk driving.

By 2015, the United States increased DUI fines and penalties. This clearly shows that a financial penalty becomes a key factor to reduce DUIs.

The average estimate is the minimum amount and it could add up depending on the type of traffic violation and court ruling.

We are all aware of these dangers of drinking and driving.

This happens when the victim decides to sue the offender through a separate civil lawsuit for property damages or bodily injuries.

Let’s determine average expenses of a DUI by 3 main checkpoints:

  • This is first DUI offense
  • No injuries
  • No property damage

We do not include emergency help, emotional recovery, property damage, career as all combined can worth millions.

Amount of people die from DUI crashes daily in US

Expenses associated with a DUI conviction:

  1. Fines
  2. Bail
  3. Vehicle impoundment, towing and storage
  4. Court costs
  5. Legal fees
  6. DUI education programs
  7. Increased auto insurance Premiums
  8. Drug and alcohol assessment and counseling fees
  9. License reinstatement fee
  10. Loss of work income
  11. Ignition interlock device installation
  12. Alternate transport cost
  13. Cost of incarceration
  14. Periodic chemical testing and treatment
  15. Limited driving privilege

The police officer will impound your car after arrest.  You should consider paying an impound fee, towing fee and storage charges if that happen. After payment you’ll be able to get your vehicle back.

This can amount to a minimum of $350; the charge can go high depending on the storage fee.

The towing fee is between $100 and $1,200. The impound fee ranges from $200 to $1000. The storage fee can go as low as $100 per day. On average, first-offense DUI convicted driver would have car impounded or immobilized for 10 days.

When one loses the driving privileges, then you will have to look for alternate methods of transportation. That will contribute to the escalating overall cost of a DUI.

One might catch a cab or hire a personal driver to access the DMV facilities or even finding an attorney. This hassle can cost you between $100 and $1,000 before you get your ruling.

Legal costs:

You will require a DUI attorney to defend you one each case. Here we will assume that your case does not get to trial. In this case, the hourly rate of an attorney is usually between $100 and $300 and the flat rate can range between $2500 and $3500.

To be on the safer side we can take an average of $3500 for the legal fees.

You will need an experienced lawyer to help you fight the charges and reduce the costs that come with them.

The factors that will determine the cost of your DUI lawyer will depend on your location, the type of legal work, the experience of your attorney and the billing method. The retainer payment can be upfront on partly depending on your agreements with the DUI attorney.

The most expensive case if the lawyer bills for each hour of work. It also depends on with the firm and the nature of the lawyer.

The cost gets expensive when you hire an attorney and when your insurance company decides to increase your premiums. If your lawyer is able to navigate through the case, this will relieve you some of the costs that come with a DUI sentence.

If the lawyer is luck to reduce the penalties through a plea deal, the better.

In normal cases, it is your choice that will determine whether the case can go to trial or accept a plea bargain with the prosecutor. In this case, the cost will be high. If your attorney gives you the green light then the cost can end up with the legal fees if you happen to win the case.

What if found guilty of a DUI?

If you are found guilty, a first-offense DUI might serve 6 months in jail or at least three days in incarceration. In our case, the probation can go to a minimum of 6 months. You are required to pay a probation services fee of $65 a month.

The jail fee is usually between $10 and $50 and you will also pay a jail term fee of $330.

Driver expected to post bail. They are usually between $150 and $2,500 depending on the offense if arrested. As a result If the criminal fines, penalty assessment, and other fees are added together, this could reach up to $2000.

In case you got in trouble with a DUI, some states may require an amount of money on top of the official fine in their Victims Compensation Fund. This restitution fund is about $100 and could even be more if your DUI charge is involved with losses and damages.

The court may order you to pay as part of your criminal sentence.  This fund is used by states to help out victims of all crimes.

The court would require one to pay for the costs encountered when processing the hearing in terms of paperwork, hearing appearance and lab fees, when chemical tests are involved. The average cost is about $800.

The fines imposed on a first-offense DUI has a range of $300 – $2,000 depending on the level of violation. If you are not lucky there might be an annual surcharge of about $2,000 to keep your license for 3 years.

1,500,000 dui arrests

There are 1,500,000 DUI arrests happen in US for 2015

What are other penalties?

If you are lucky of not getting a jail time or paying fines, then the court might sentence you to alternative forms of punishment: alcohol or drug dependency or addiction assessment, treatment for alcohol abuse, alcohol teaching and prevention programs and community service (40 hours).

The treatment programs are done on the basis of the BAC results at the time of arrest.

If you happen to be on probation you will be required to attend AA or NA meetings and take random urinalysis tests. The risk reduction course consists of three components: a 30min – 1 hour assessment ($75), materials fee ($15) and a 20-hours intervention ($185).

Therefore, an alcohol or drug dependency or addiction assessment would cost about $280.

To show the prosecutor and the court that you are taking responsibility for your actions, you are expected to undergo Drug and Alcohol Evaluation.

The evaluation process is all about taking tests, being screened and answering questions to provide information for the report.

You will also attend a community service for a duration of 24 to 80 hours and it will cost you about $60. Community service sentence might be replaced by an Alcohol Education Program for minors.

Alcohol Treatment and Education might cost you on average $1,000-$2,500.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers below 21 years old are more likely to get involved in an auto accident. The first DUI is usually a misdemeanor, depending on the judge’s ruling one can either go to jail or probation.

What is the common penalty for driving under influence (DUI)?

The most common penalty would be the suspension of the license for 1 year.  To prevent the offender from picking up charges and driving while drunk, some states might impose the installation of ignition interlock device.

In some states, it is mandatory to install an ignition interlock device for the purpose of License reinstatement. This device required that you deliver a breath sample to start your vehicle.

If you are to lease the device, you will have to pay for the installation cost ($100), daily lease ($2.5), daily maintenance ($2.5) and daily calibration ($2.5) – you will be paying about $225 every month.

When you need to drive while adhering to the court requirements, you will need a restricted license before you get your license back. This limited driving privilege will cost you about $100.

If you have completed you suspension period and full filled any other requirements to be eligible to get your license back, your last payment will be a reinstatement fee to get your driving privileges back.

The fee will cost between $100 and $300 depending on the state you are in. So driving privileges can be restored after reinstatement fees are paid.

To meet the requirement of a first DUI offender, the individual has to attend a 3 months alcohol education program. So the program consists of education Class (a combination of lecture and film), group session and Individual interviews.

The purpose of this course is to raise the awareness of the dangers of drinking and driving that further prevents future occurrence of a DUI.