What is the Cost of Drinking and Driving in the USA?
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are equally both serious charges that can have many consequences on both an individual’s personal and financial future for years to come. For those who have been pulled over and charged with this offense, they face a number of punishments that will vary depending on the state in which the charges are being held.
Among these possible penalties are fines, license suspensions, alcohol education courses, and the possibility of having to serve jail time.
While all of these disciplinary actions can be very serious after being convicted in court, many individuals do not consider the long-term affects this type of charge can have on their life. One of the biggest impacts that a DUI or DWI conviction can have an on individual’s future is the strain it can put on finances.
Initial costs related to drunk driving include court costs, lawyer’s fees, and the fines that courts pass down as punishment for the crime. How about what the long term financial fallout is nationwide?
Short Term Financial Repercussions
As mentioned earlier, individuals convicted of DUI related alcohol or drug misdemeanor will face immediate financial consequences in the form of fees, fines, and other costs as a result of the arrest and following conviction. Court fees and a lawyer’s price can be expensive and the most obvious expenses.
However where offenders really get hit is in the wallet. This is due to the draining of a bank account with renting an ignition interlock device, auto insurance increases, towing, and storage fees for their vehicle after their arrest. Additionally, a driver can expect to pay a license reinstatement fee when their mandatory suspension period ends.
The penalties for DUI and DWI will vary by state, and so will the amount that convicted drivers will pay in fines. It is also important to mention that monetary fees increase for those who are repeat offenders of this crime.
The majority of states carry a typical a fine which ranges between $560 and $1,500 for first time offenders, and $1,200 to $5,300 for those who get charged a second time within a five year period. A payment between $2,000 and over $10,000 can be expected for those who offend a third time within five years of their last drunk or drugged driving arrest.
With these alarming prices, it is easy to see based on the numbers alone, that being convicted of driving under the influence will be very expensive anywhere within the USA. This is especially the case when you consider all the additional costs, aside from initial fines, the person will have to endure how it can have a long term effect on their personal finances.
The fines mentioned above are steep in any one of the states of the country. However, they also get worse every single year when people are arrested and charged with this offense under the new state laws passed.
Effects of a DUI Related Conviction Will Have on Car Insurance Rates
As every driver should know, their driving record plays a huge role in how car insurance companies determine what an individual pays for their car insurance premiums. Accidents and incidents on the road can increase the cost of car insurance, but being convicted of a driving related crime can have an even bigger impact.
These types of events will translate to car insurance companies as risky behavior, causing them to raise the individual’s rates to help cover the risks the company will incur.
How Much Will My Insurance Rates be Raised after a DUI Happens?
There is no doubt that an person’s car insurance rates will increase if convicted of DUI or DWI, regardless of what state the charge took place in. How much that increase will be will depend on what company the individual is using for the car insurance.
Nationally, car insurance companies are relatively harsh when it comes to increasing insurance rates for those who have been convicted of DUI offenses. Most people can expect an almost 99% spike in monthly premiums.
It is easy to see that the financial repercussions of being arrested and convicted of DUI or DWI can be brutal. This is both in the short, and especially long-term scenario if convicted or a guilty plea is entered.
When all financial implications are considered – towing fees, vehicle impoundment/storage, court costs, lawyer’s, fines, and insurance increases – individuals can expect to pay up to $40,000 for an easily avoided mistake.
This figure, however, does not include the money an individual could lose in income if he or she cannot get to work due to a license suspension. If a person’s employment is lost for being incarcerated due to a DUI of drugs or alcohol conviction, the seriously negative impact is enormous.
Why Having a DUI Lawyer is Important for the Overall Price Figure to Expect
The financial consequences of a driving under the influence conviction are startling, and it should bring into clarity why using a DUI lawyer is so crucial. A reputable attorney may be pricey in general, but his or her expertise in DUI/DWI law for the state in which the charges are taking place can save an individual a lot of money down the line.
After reviewing the client’s case, the lawyer will be able to let the defendant know what to expect monetarily when facing in court. They can also assist in which financial implications he or she may be facing on top of any fines and/or penalties already paid.
A good DUI lawyer will review all specifics of the case, including aspects of the client’s arrest. Based on this information, it may be possible for the attorney to collect enough evidence to counteract the prosecutor’s case to have the individual’s charges dismissed.
In some states, it may even be possible for the client to take plea bargain on their first offense DUI charge, and receive a lesser charge such as reckless driving. Unfortunately under some state’s new laws, certain ones will not allow a reduction of charges plea for wet reckless in drunk and drugged driving related cases.
All of the negative repercussions of this offense can be avoided by simply not drinking and driving, or operating a vehicle while high. Many individuals often believe they will not get caught by police, or they are so close enough to home for it to be safe to risk the chance.
Consuming any amount of alcohol or other chemical substances that alter an individual’s mind and functioning, still poses as dangerous to both the driver and others on the road. Being convicted of a DUI has serious consequences that will have a profound impact on an individual’s life, but it can all be avoided by not driving drunk.