What You Should Know About the Financial Impacts of DUI
Being pulled over, arrested, and charged for DUI is something individuals need to take very seriously. Not only will the individual face a license suspension, possible jail time, and having to use an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) but also face the many financial repercussions of this type of conviction. Currently, the state of Delaware carries a DUI penalty fine of between $500 and $1,500 for first time offenders, which only increases with the number of previous offenses.
While this fine may seem like punishment enough, it is also important to remember the financial consequences individuals will also face as a result of their conviction. In addition to having to pay a fine, individuals will likely have to pay court costs, pay the cost of hiring a lawyer, pay for the installation of an Ignition Interlock Device in Delaware if required, as well as additional fines and penalties. While this seems like a lot of money going out, individuals should also keep in mind that serving jail time may prevent money from coming in.
Immediate Financial Problems
Individuals will face a number of financial problems after being arrested convicted of a Delaware DUI. First, when being arrested and charged with DUI, the individual will be responsible for paying for the car to be towed to the impound lot and will also be responsible for the storage fees of the vehicle, unless the arresting officer allows a third party to come pick up the car. After being taken to jail, depending on the circumstances of the crime, the individual will also have to pay bail to be released.
Once the arrest phase of their DUI charge is complete, the individual will likely hire a DUI attorney to fight the case and represent them in court. It is important to look for an attorney who is well-versed in the DUI law for the state in which the charge is taking place and this usually comes at a cost. While each legal professional will have their own fees, most individuals should expect to pay between $750 and $1,500 for proper legal representation during the DUI case.
After the case has been tried and the conviction passed down, the individual will have to deal with another financial blow in the way of their penalty. Individuals who are convicted of DUI in the state of Delaware will pay between $500 and $1,500 in fines as punishment for their crime. It is important to know that this fine is not the same from one state to the next and will generally go up in price when the individual has other DUI offenses on their record.
Long Term Financial Problems
While many individuals get caught up in the financial problems they have immediately after their conviction, they often forget how being found guilty of this kind of charge can affect their financial future. First, if the individual cannot pay all of the fines and other costs right up front, they will likely be placed on a payment plan for their fines, lawyer’s fees, and other costs. This will help to make the payments more affordable but spread them out over a much longer period of time and may involve interest, increasing the overall cost.
Car Insurance and DUI in Delaware
An increase in car insurance rates is another long-term consequence people do not necessarily think about when they are convicted of DUI. Regardless of which state the DUI conviction occurs in, the infraction goes on their criminal record as well as their driving record, which means the individual’s car insurance rate is almost guaranteed to increase. In the state of Delaware, individuals who are convicted of DUI can expect a 118 percent increase in their car insurance rate, which is relatively harsh.
Hiring a DUI Attorney to Minimize the Financial Impacts
Being convicted of DUI is very expensive, both in the short term and the long term. When individuals add together the costs and fines outlined here, they can expect to pay upwards of $40,000 for their mistake, not including the possibility of a lost wages. Even though hiring a DUI lawyer is an added expense, having a legal professional represent them in court is very important to the success of their case and can possibly save them money.
A good DUI attorney will know the DUI laws in the state the charges are taking place and will have the knowledge to build a strong defense. They will take a long look at the evidence of what happened before the traffic stop, during the arrest, and after the arrest to see if the individual’s rights were violated in any way. If this was the case, the attorney can begin to develop a strategy to fight the charges.
While having the case dismissed is the best case scenario, it is not always possible to have that happen. The next best case an individual can hope for is having the charges reduced to something less serious. In the state of Delaware, it is possible for an individual and his or her lawyer to have the charges reduced to “wet reckless” – this charge carries similar consequences as reckless driving but indicates that alcohol was a factor in the charge. While there will still be fines, they are often less hefty than those assigned to anyone charged with Driving Under the Influence.
The financial repercussions of being convicted of DUI can have both short term and long term consequences on an individual’s financial future and is something the individual should take very seriously. Having a good attorney could possibly see the case dismissed completely or the charges reduced, which can save them some of the financial pressure. But, at the end of the day, not drinking and driving is the best possible way to avoid having to deal with the consequences of DUI. Always opt to designate a sober driver or take public transportation – it may save your or someone else’s life.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.