A DUI arrest may seem like the beginning of a long nightmare, and it may not be an exaggeration to feel this way. In addition to the legal process that may last for months, a conviction for DUI starts a whole new set of issues related to the penalties the court imposes.
Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, you may face license suspension that could mean months or years of scrounging for rides to work and other places. You may have to spend time in jail and perform community service. Your penalties may include attending alcohol counseling or driver re-training. In addition to all this, you will likely spend many years digging out of the financial hole in which a DUI conviction may leave you.
Adding up the cost
Whether it is your first offense or you have convictions in your history, from the moment of your arrest, the costs pile up. You will be responsible for the cost of towing and impound fees for your vehicle. In Florida, you may have to spend the night in jail before posting bail, which can be several hundred dollars. In fact, you may end up spending a thousand dollars or more before your DUI even gets to trial. If a court convicts you, you can expect these additional costs:
- Fines up to $2,000 unless your blood alcohol concentration is significantly higher than .08 percent
- Additional court fees, such as a jail fee, sentencing fee and probation fee
- Installation and monthly fees for ignition interlock, if ordered
- Fees related to supervision of community service assignments
- Costs for random alcohol or drug screening tests the court may order
- Substance abuse education courses, which can cost thousands of dollars
- The ongoing cost of finding alternative transportation to and from work, to your community service, and to other obligations
- The cost of seeking reinstatement of your license at the end of your suspension
You may be shocked at how much your car insurance premiums increase after a DUI conviction. In fact, some see a hike in their insurance rates as high as $10,000. All told, you may forfeit as much as $25,000 for a first-offense DUI conviction, not including any loss of pay for missing work because of court dates, jail time or other reasons related to your conviction. Depending on what you do for a living, your job itself may be on the line after a DUI.
If you are facing a DUI charge, you do not want to handle it without skilled legal assistance. You have a lot on the line that could cost you even more than the money you stand to lose because of a conviction.