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The High Cost of DUIs – Sticker Shock That Follows You

Young woman pulls her hair out of frustration confused by all the insurance options after getting a DUI

Across the country, states are coming down hard on driving-under-the-influence (DUI) offenders. If you thought pain at the pump was bad, you won’t want to be on the receiving end of a DUI conviction. It’s a financial hurricane that will affect you for years to come, and if you weren’t lucky enough to buy Google at ten dollars, your wallet is going to be noticeably lighter. 

This is why it’s important to have auto insurance that can provide coverage for DUI-related expenses, including court costs, fines, and higher insurance premiums.

Breaking Down DUI Court Costs

Even if you didn’t cause property damage or physically injure anyone, by the time you pay bail, fines, fees and insurance, and other associated costs, a typical first DUI can easily run upwards of $10,000.

Here’s a representative breakdown of the variety of charges that “one-for-the-road” drink could cost you. This sample list of costs assumes no property damage, personal injury or third-party liability.

Bail: Your get out of jail card ranges from $150-$2,500.

Legal fees: $2,500 to $25,000

  • Investigator ($1,000 to $3,000) to interview witnesses, transcribe the police video
  • Expert witnesses to testify about the accuracy of field sobriety tests ($3,000 and up)
  • Trial costs can be closer to $20,000

Alcohol education and treatment: $150-$2,000 for basic treatment. If you’re convicted, you usually have to undergo an education or treatment program. Treatment can vary widely in scope and duration. In California, a DUI Education Program for First-Time Offenders consists of a three-month, 30-hour alcohol and drug education and counseling program. It costs approximately $500 to $600.

Alcohol-monitoring leg bracelet: Approximately $100 to install and about $10 per day, or $300 per month.

Automobile insurance increase (over 10 years): Approximately $8500listed as high-risk driver.

DMV license reissue fee: $125 (California)

Jail booking, fingerprinting, and photo processing: $160

Ignition Interlock Device: $75/month.  If this court-ordered device detects alcohol on your breath, the engine won’t start. As you drive, you are periodically required to provide breath samples to ensure the continued absence of alcohol in your system.

Towing: $100-$1,200. When you’re arrested, your car is towed. In some areas, retrieving it may cost from $100-200. One mid-Western city charges about $1,200 for the first 24 hours and $50 for each additional day of storage. Adding insult to injury, if you can’t afford to get your car after 30 days, the city auctions it off and then comes after you with a civil judgment for the impoundment bill, if the sale of the car didn’t cover the fees.

Fines and court fees: Up to $4,160, or more. In addition, if you have been charged with a DUI for the first time, you may:

  • Go to jail for up to 6 months;
  • Lose your driver’s license for 6 months and be ordered to complete a 3-month or 9-month program

SR-22 Certificate Required 

Once your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked in the United States, your insurance company must file an SR-22 Certificate of Insurance with the Department of Motor Vehicles in order to confirm that you meet the state’s minimum requirements for liability coverage. Not all car insurance carriers provide SR-22 coverage.
Also, you will lose any good driver discount you may have had — state laws prohibit DUI offenders from obtaining/retaining a good driver discount for a certain period of time following the date of a DUI violation.
In addition to the endless parade of court paperwork you’ll have to handle, it’s up to you to deal with the DMV too. You must contact the DMV within 10 days of your arrest to demand a hearing. Otherwise, you forfeit your right to a hearing and your license automatically goes into suspension after 30 days.

What Influences the Cost of DUI Court Fees?

The cost of court fees for a DUI conviction can vary greatly depending on a number of factors. The severity of the offense, the blood alcohol concentration at the time of arrest, and whether it is a first offense DUI can all play a role in determining the average cost of court fees.  

Additionally, legal costs associated with hiring a DUI attorney can further drive up the total cost. Other expenses may include jail time, community service, and work absences due to license suspension. It’s important for people facing a DUI offense to understand the various factors that influence the cost of court fees and to plan accordingly.

The Risks and Penalties of Ignoring Court Fees for DUI Charges

Ignoring court fees for a DUI conviction can result in severe consequences. License suspension may be extended, and even revoked, making it difficult to get to work using public transportation. Furthermore, the total cost of fines and penalties can increase over time, making it even more difficult to pay off the debt. 

In addition, employers may be hesitant to hire someone with a DUI conviction on their record, which could further impact job prospects. It’s essential for anyone facing DUI charges to understand the risks and penalties of ignoring court fees.

How to Effectively Manage and Pay Court Costs for a DUI Charge

Managing and paying court costs for a DUI conviction can be challenging, but it’s essential to avoid additional penalties or legal consequences. One strategy is to work with a DUI attorney who can provide guidance and help negotiate a payment plan. 

Another approach is to explore options for community service or work programs in lieu of fines or jail time. It’s also important to keep track of expenses and budget accordingly to avoid falling behind on payments. With proper planning and management, it is possible to effectively pay court costs associated with a DUI conviction.

How to Cut Court Costs for DUI Convictions: Tips and Techniques

For those facing DUI charges, cutting court costs can be a top priority. 

Here are 5 effective strategies:

  1. Seek legal representation: Hiring a DUI lawyer can be costly, but it can also help in negotiating lower court fees or exploring alternative penalties such as community service. A lawyer can also provide guidance on how to best manage court costs and payments. 
  2. Consider a plea deal: In some cases, a plea deal may be offered by the prosecution. This can involve a reduced sentence or lower fees in exchange for a guilty plea. It’s important to discuss all options with legal representation before agreeing to any plea deal.
  3. Attend a defensive driving course: Completing a defensive driving course may be required as part of the DUI conviction. However, it can also be used as a strategy to lower court costs. Some courts offer reduced fees for completing the course, so it’s important to check with the court for eligibility.
  4. Explore payment plans: Many courts offer payment plans for court fees, which can help spread out the cost of a DUI over a longer period of time. It’s important to discuss all options with legal representation and the court to determine the best payment plan for your situation. 
  5. Avoid future DUI offenses: Additional DUI offenses can result in even higher court costs and penalties. It’s important to take steps to avoid future DUI offenses, such as seeking help for alcohol addiction or avoiding driving while under the influence. By avoiding future offenses, it can help prevent additional charges associated with DUI convictions. 

Don’t let DUI expenses catch you off guard

Don’t let DUI expenses catch you off guard and become a financial burden. 

The bottom line is that driving is a privilege, and if you’re facing a first DUI conviction, it’s important to be aware of the associated costs and penalties as mandated by state law. Please note that every case is unique and the price you pay may vary depending on several things, such as the quality of legal representation you receive.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to seek legal guidance for questions or concerns you may have regarding this matter. Additionally, it’s important to know that not all insurance providers offer coverage for DUI-related expenses, which can affect your auto insurance rates.

Visit our site for more information and a free consultation. Freeway Insurance offers auto insurance options that can provide coverage for DUI-related expenses. Protect yourself financially by choosing Freeway Insurance for your auto insurance needs.

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