If you’re like most people arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), you are probably most worried about spending time behind bars if you are convicted of the offense. While it’s quite possible that your sentence will include jail time, that’s not the only penalty you will face if you are found guilty of drunk driving—you could also lose your license and incur thousands of dollars in DUI fines.
Although each state has its own sentencing guidelines for drunk driving, the average DUI fines for a first-time offender usually run between $500 and $1,000. For individuals who have a history of driving under the influence, these fees can approach $15,000 or more. Keep in mind, however, that these estimates do not include third-party expenses, insurance costs, and other fees that may be included in your sentence.
For example, Atlanta DUI lawyer Lee Webb says, the punishment for a DUI conviction may include a license suspension. As a result of this penalty, you may have to pay for transportation until your driving privileges are reinstated. What’s more, most states charge a number of administrative fees to restore your license.
Depending on where you live, the sentence for drunk driving may also include penalties such as mandatory alcohol counseling or DUI School. Since these programs are run by commercial businesses, you will be responsible for any costs associated with them.
In some cases, the judge may also order you to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle. Designed to deter future DUI arrests, this device requires drivers to perform a breathalyzer each time they attempt to start their vehicle. In addition to an installation fee of $250 or more, you will be charged a monthly monitoring fee of around $50 and pay for any required maintenance and/or service costs.
If you think the fees outlined above are expensive, consider this: individuals who are convicted of DUI often pay 450% more for auto insurance than other drivers. At the very least, you can expect your rates to double or triple once your insurer learns of your conviction—and in some cases, you may be denied coverage altogether.
It is also important to remember that, if your sentence includes jail time or community service, you may lose income due to your time away from work. In the worst-case scenario, you could even be suspended or lose your job. Plus, if you were involved in an accident, you may be required to pay restitution for any injuries and/or property damage you caused. You can also expect to be charged a monthly fee if you are placed on probation.
As you can see, you can rack up a number of DUI fees if you are found guilty of driving under the influence. In fact, when all the penalties are combined, the average cost of a DUI conviction is estimated to be between $10,000 and $25,000—a hefty price, to say the least.
Fortunately, with the right legal representation, you may be able to reduce or avoid many of these expenses. To determine the best strategy for your case, submit your information online today to connect with an experienced DUI defense attorney in your area and receive a free, no-obligation evaluation of your case.