What You Should Know About the Real Cost of DUI
Minnesota takes the offense of drinking and driving very seriously. In this state, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is also referred to as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and the penalties for committing this crime are very severe. All of the cities in Minnesota, including Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Duluth and Rochester, follow the same regulations when it comes to DUI/DWI – those over the age of 21 who are found to be driving with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of over 0.08 percent are in violation.
Understanding the Financial Repercussion of DUI/DWI
Many states carry the same types of penalties when it comes to punishing those who are convicted of DUI/DWI – Minnesota is no exception. Like other states, Minnesota will use a blend of a number of punishments in different severities, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Those individuals who receive their first conviction of DUI/DWI in Minnesota will face the following penalties:
- Up to 90 Days in Jail
- $1,000 Fine
- License Suspension of Up to 90 Days
This state also enforces a 10-year lookback period, which means any individuals who have had another Minnesota DUI/DWI conviction within the last 10 years, the current infraction will be considered a second offense. Repeat offenders often face much harsher consequences including longer jail sentences, longer license suspensions, and higher fines – second and third time offenders face a $3,000 fine and fourth time offenders will face a $14,000 fine. These fines can put a wrench in anyone financial plans.
Costs Incurred During the Arrest Process
What many people may not realize is they will be paying for drunk driving even before they have their first court hearing. When someone is pulled over and arrested for suspicion of DUI/DWI and transported to jail for processing, the vehicle will be towed and stored at an impound lot unless the officer allows the individual to have someone else pick up the car. They will then be responsible for paying the towing and storage fees when the vehicle is released, which can cost upwards of $1,000 or more depending on how long the vehicle remains on the impound lot.
Not all DUI/DWI arrests mean the individual will be booked into the local jail, but depending on the circumstances surrounding the offense and the arrest, it is a possibility. Should the individual be booked into the local jail, he or she will likely have a bail amount posted for release. This is usually because of aggravated circumstances, such as the driver causing an accident, injury to others, or if a minor was present at the time of the traffic stop. Bail for DUI/DWI can range between $500 and $50,000.
Once individuals have been formally charged with DUI/DWI, they will receive their first court date. Before this date, it is in the offender’s best interest to find a knowledgeable lawyer who understands the DUI/DWI laws in the state of Minnesota to represent them during trial. Every lawyer and law firm will have different ways they charge for their service, whether it is a flat fee or an hourly rate. Generally, any individual will pay between $1,000 and $10,000 for the services of a good DUI lawyer.
Costs Incurred After Conviction
Should the offender be found guilty of Driving While Intoxicated they will then be held responsible for paying the fines and penalties associated with the crime. As mentioned, first time offenders of DUI/DWI in the state of Minnesota will be responsible for paying a $1,000. While this is the penalty for this state, it is important to keep in mind that every state will have different fine amounts that they will use as punishment for offenders of drinking and driving. Additionally, the fines will increase with the number of previous offenses the individual has within that state’s lookback period, if the state has one.
Changes in Car Insurance Cost When Convicted of DUI/DWI
The fines and penalties individuals will have to pay after they are convicted of DUI/DWI are not the only financial hits they will take. Additionally, since this crime is vehicle related, it will be reported to the department of motor vehicles for Minnesota as well as the individual’s car insurance company. Since drinking and driving is a very risky behavior, the car insurance provider will raise the individual’s car insurance rates to help offset the increased risk posed by making a claim. While the cost of the insurance will inevitably increase, the amount of the increase will vary between providers.
Minnesota is already ranked among the highest for least affordable car insurance in the country and it is also relatively harsh when it comes to punishing those with a DUI/DWI conviction. While each insurance provider will have its own calculations for how much it will raise insurance rates, individuals can expect their insurance to increase by almost 125 percent – this comes out to approximately an additional $140 a month added on to their monthly car insurance cost.
How You Can Avoid the High Cost of DUI/DWI
Having to deal with a Driving While Intoxicated conviction can have a profound impact on an individual’s personal and professional life as well as on his or her financial future. When all of the costs are outlined here are added together, individuals could be paying upwards of $40,000 for a DUI conviction. This can have serious repercussions on someone’s finances, which is why using a sober driver or public transportation is always the best course of action for both your finances and for your 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.