DUI’s Can Cost You In Many Ways

by Ladyblogger on February 6, 2013

  • Sharebar

(US law and generally) Convictions for driving under the influence can be very expensive. Intoxicated motorists face a wide array of direct and indirect costs that add up to a size-able sum. Even a first-time offender may lose several thousand dollars before the ordeal is complete. In some states, this is effectively guaranteed by mandatory jail time and insurance surcharges.

Fines and Court Costs: Persons convicted of driving under the influence will normally face fines. In New Jersey, first-time offenders with a blood alcohol content of .08 to .10 face fines ranging from $250 to $400 while offenders with a greater blood alcohol content face fines ranging from $300 to $500. Second-time offender face $500 to $1,000 in fines and third-time offender face $1,000 in fines.

Impound Fees: Officers will usually impound vehicles after making an arrest for driving under the influence. If a sober passenger is available and if the officer is feeling generous, the officer may release the custody of the vehicle to that person. In some states, like New Jersey, officers must impound the vehicle for a minimum statutory period. Vehicle impound fees can run into the hundreds of dollars for the short term and thousands of dollars if the vehicle is kept for an extended period.

Attorney Fees: Paying an attorney to arrange bail and fight the charges is a worthwhile investment for anyone accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While the costs will vary between attorneys and whether the defendant wants to take the case to trial, an attorney can cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to over ten thousand dollars.

Jail Time: Driving under the influence will normally result in an automatic arrest and additional jail time. States differ on the amount of jail time imposed on defendants. While jail is unpleasant, the real economic costs of jail time are the resultant loss of employment and an inability to earn a real income. If the convicted motorist is terminated as a result of the conviction and is out of work for a few months while looking for a new position, the economic costs of the conviction can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Alcohol Rehabilitation Program Costs: Many attorneys will negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to provide their clients with the opportunity to enroll in an alcohol treatment program in lieu of jail time. If the prosecutor agrees, the client will enroll in a court-ordered program that requires a size-able portion of the defendant’s time but leaves him or her without having to endure the various hardships of jail. If the prosecutor does not agree, the defendant may be ordered to attend a treatment program anyway. These programs can cost anywhere from around $150 to upwards of $500.

Insurance Surcharges: In addition to a standard increase in insurance rates for committing a traffic violation, some states authorize insurance surcharges for motorists convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In New Jersey, first-time and second-time offenders face a $1,000 annual New Jersey insurance surcharge for three years while third-time offenders face $1,500 annual surcharges for three years. This adds an automatic cost of $3,000 or $4,500 onto the cost of any conviction for driving under the influence.

In addition to the above costs, defendants may be ordered to contribute various small amounts to various funds. Considering the gravity of the above costs, a few hundred extra dollars be little more than a drop in the bucket. If the motorist’s inebriated driving results in an accident, the charges can be much more severe. Rather than chance the drive home and risk injury, death, or a heavy financial burden, call for a cab. In the end, it is the least expensive option.

Freelance author Anthony Joseph enjoys writing about DUI to help raise awareness, and is contributing this article for that exact purpose. Levow & Associates is a New Jersey firm that exclusively handles DWI charges. If you’re charged with a DWI in New Jersey insurance surcharge fees are to be expected. There are many consequences you could face, but their attorneys will fight to make sure you receive the least amount of consequences possible.

No related posts.

Previous post:

Next post: