The question of the cost of a DUI goes further than the amount of the fines and fees you may end up paying to settle the criminal and DMV restrictions that will be imposed upon you, if convicted. Other costs enter into the equation which can change your lifestyle, your income, your career and potentially many other aspects or your life.
We have outlined the criminal penalties for first, second, and third and subsequent DUI convictions previously. These costs and penalties escalate quickly if your DUI causes property damage, physical injury, or death to another person. But beyond the raw costs, many other personal costs may enter into the equation of the total cost of a DUI.
Costs of a DUI
Employment – For a first-time simple DUI conviction, the employment costs can be very high depending what you do, and whether a professional license is required to do your job. A stockbroker, professional pilot, lawyer, nurse, or physician risk losing their professional licenses if convicted of a DUI. Even if you don’t do one of those jobs, you will most likely miss a great deal of work time due to court dates, jail time and/or community service requirements, much less dealing with the DMV to get your license back, among other activities related to the DUI. This lost work time may test your employer’s patience and a DUI may well lead to a job loss. Many employers will not retain an employee who receives a DUI as a matter of employment policy. Costs are incalculable in terms of potential employment losses due to employment matters.
Vehicle – Getting your car back after a DUI arrest usually runs $300 or so for towing, and with storage fees for your time in jail, you could conceivably be paying $500 or more, up to over $1,000, just to retrieve your vehicle. This may be more or less, depending on how long you wait to get the car out of impound.
Fines and Court Costs – Fines range from $400 to $1,000 for a first-time simple DUI conviction and go up from there. Court Costs may range from a few hundred to over $1,000.
Attorney Fees – Generally from $2,500 to $10,000 or more, depending on the difficulty of your case.
DUI School – Costs for court-imposed education required after a DUI conviction run from $200 – $1,500 depending on how many previous DUI’s you have had.
Public Records – The public records of your DUI criminal conviction will remain discoverable by background checks for at least 7 years, which could have an effect on future potential employment opportunities and will cost additional legal fees to have sealed. Your DMV record, which is separate from your public criminal record, will show your DUI for the rest of your life and will be seen no matter in which state you apply for a driver’s license.
Insurance Premiums – Your insurance rates for your vehicle will balloon due to a DUI conviction. Even the arrest may trigger an increase in rates even if you’re not convicted. This could amount to $1,000 to $2,000 per year of increased premiums or more depending on the circumstances of your DUI. Furthermore, you will need to carry a separate SR-22 Insurance policy for 3 years after a DUI, which can exceed $1,000 per year.
DMV – Your driving privileges will be revoked for at least 90 days, and even after 90 days you will need to install an Ignition Interlock System (IIS), at your cost, which will breathalyze you each time you attempt to start your car or truck, in order to get your license back. You will need to keep the IIS in your vehicle for up to six months on a first-time simple DUI. The monthly fee for an IIS is $300 or so per month. Additionally, re-applying for a license will cost upwards of $200.
Other Technology – In some cases, you may also be required to wear an ankle bracelet…fees also apply to this equipment…so that authorities can track your movements to ensure that you are not driving to locations outside of your designated destinations.
Adding it all up
There are probably other costs that this analysis didn’t take into account. This exercise is to indicate that costs due to a DUI can spiral out of control quickly. You can expect a first-time simple DUI conviction to cost $15,000 or more conservatively, in out-of-pocket expense, taking into account legal fees, fines and court costs, insurance premium increases, retrieval of your vehicle, court mandated education, DMV, and other costs.
The effect that it may have in other areas of your life such as lost employment, personal relationships, status, the ability to provide for yourself and others can be devastating. In order to protect your rights, you need to have an attorney represent you for any DUI.
Ticket Busters represents you if charged with a DUI
Each DUI is different based on the circumstances of the case. The impact of a DUI can vary based on many factors, but it IS an expensive proposition both financially and personally. Our lawyers specialize in DUI’s and know how to best defend you if you are charged with a DUI. Call our office today to discuss your case at (702) 666-6666 or click the green button at the bottom of the page to text us your information.