While you are worried about the social stigmas and possible jail time that come with a DUI, you may have forgotten to consider the FINANCIAL burden that accompanies this charge. There are staggering costs associated with DUIs – both in and out of the courtroom. In addition to high fines and court costs, you may also be required to pay administrative fees, inflated insurance rates and out-of-pocket monitoring or treatment. If you find yourself in the predicament of a DUI arrest, it helps to prepare yourself for the monetary obligations you could face. Below is a list of some traditional costs connected with DUIs. Note that securing an experienced DUI attorney can lead to a significant reduction of these judicial and administrative costs!
If your DUI charge involves an accident, you may be ordered to pay restitution to the alleged victim. Restitution is defined as out-of-pocket expenses not covered by insurance. This could mean expenses resulting from vehicle damage, property damage, or bodily injury. The restitution amount will depend on the severity of the injuries and damages as well as the policy limits of your insurance company or the insurance of the victim (if the parties have insurance). While criminal court does not concern itself with “pain and suffering” (also known as noneconomic damages), property repairs and medical bills can still amount to several thousands of dollars. You may also face a separate civil lawsuit for those emotional damages that were not collected in criminal court.
Your own car expenses
Payment for damages does not end with the other party. If you were in an accident as a result of a DUI, you will likely have to pay for your own medical bills and vehicle repairs. In the best case scenario, you will only have to pay a deductible to your insurance company. However, certain insurance companies do not cover expenses stemming from a DUI; if your insurance company has an exclusion for DUI-related offenses, you will be responsible for your own bills.
Your car may also require towing services if the accident was serious enough to disable your vehicle. You can expect to spend several hundred dollars on towing expenses. Extra fees for car storage should also be considered.
In Palm Beach County you may not need a bond if your DUI is a first-time offense with no other aggravating factors. However, a bond amount of $3,000 and upwards can be imposed for felony DUI charges.
Administrative DMV fees include a number of different items. Some of the most common DMV fees related to DUI are Driver’s License reinstatement fees that range anywhere from $45.00 for suspensions to $75.00 for revocations. Keep in mind that the administrative DMV suspension for refusal to submit to a breath or urine test is completely different from a suspension imposed by the court as a legal repercussion of a DUI plea (although you may face fees for both).
Hardship licenses are an additional cost – if you qualify. You must pay a fee for your hardship application. Once granted, hardship licenses are used for travel to and from work, school, medical appointments and places of worship. DUI school is required for Hardship License applications and DUI convictions alike. DUI School can be completed online or in person. The average cost of DUI School generally ranges from $300 to $500.
DUIs are associated with increased insurance rates. The premium will most likely remain at an increased rate for several years. Some have claimed that the rates can increase by almost 50% after a DUI conviction. Other traffic offenses from the same incident as the DUI can be coupled with the criminal charge and also affect your insurance. Even noncriminal traffic infractions such as speeding, careless driving, or running a red light can cause a spike in your insurance rate.
Court Costs/Fines/Cost of Prosecution
A conviction for Driving Under the Influence comes with high fines and court costs, and you are responsible for paying both. Average misdemeanor DUI fines in Palm Beach County are anywhere from $1000-$2000. Court costs must be paid in addition to the fines and can range from $500-$600 for a misdemeanor DUI. Fines and court costs are not to be confused with the cost of prosecution, which is yet another court fee (generally $100).
The court provides each Defendant who pleads guilty an Order Assessing Charges, Costs and Fines which breaks down each fine and cost for your reference. Some of the collateral fees can include, but are not limited to: Teen Court, Crime Stoppers, and Radio System Trust Funds. These smaller fees can vary anywhere from $3-$65. You will be ordered to pay these costs during sentencing and must generally complete payment within your probationary period.
Probation is expensive. The average cost of supervision in South Florida is $55.00 per month, but the exact monthly probationary fee varies among jurisdictions. Along with monthly probation fees, other probationary costs include random alcohol and drug screenings and the use of an alcohol monitoring device. The alcohol and drug tests are only about $15.00 – $25.00 per test; but when it comes to alcohol monitoring devices, expect to pay around $100.00 per week. In Palm Beach County, the three most popular alcohol monitoring devices are the ignition interlock, the SCRAM monitor, and the VAM (visual alcohol monitoring) device. These systems have installation and removal fees along with maintenance fees and a monthly service charge. The average estimated cost is approximately $70 to $150 to install and around $60-$80 per month for device monitoring and calibration.
Any treatment, whether required by the court or initiated at your will, is entered into at your own expense. The cost of alcohol rehabilitation programs vary, depending on the services needed. Medical Detox or residential care can fluctuate between $500 and $700 per day – about the price of a 5-star hotel. Partial hospitalization can cost $350-$450 per day and outpatient care can cost you about $250-$350 per day.
Loss of Wages, Transportation Cost, and Loss of Employment Opportunities.
Other DUI expenses that people sometimes fail to recognize are employment-related costs or losses. These include the loss of wages from either missing work or the inability to execute driving-related work tasks. If you plead guilty to DUI, your driver’s license will be suspended and your vehicle will be immobilized for a period of time. You will have to find an alternative way to get to work – which in turn will cost you money – or lose job opportunities. If you are a commercial driver, a DUI can be devastating to your CDL and your career as a whole.
On the days you miss work out of the need to complete a probationary condition, you may not get paid. Furthermore, your employer may consider your criminal record when determining whether to promote you or even retain you. As for applying for new jobs, you run the risk of a prospective employer running a background check and finding your DUI conviction.
Investing in an experienced DUI Attorney
A DUI is costly in more ways than one. You not only face criminal penalties and a damaged reputation, but also a direct hit to your wallet with all of the associated fines and costs. The key to minimizing economic impact and potential penalties is seeking legal help. While hiring a great DUI lawyer may seem like another financial burden on top of all of the others, it is an investment into potentially saving your record, your liberty, and – yes – maybe even some costs.
Our criminal defense law firm boasts experienced, aggressive DUI representation. Founding Attorney Lourdes Casanova may be able to uncover evidence that can positively affect the outcome of your case during her rigorous independent DUI investigation and review of the evidence. Attorney Casanova is a former prosecutor with an extensive background in DUI law and litigation. Her courtroom experience will give you the advantage you need in a DUI case. The quality of care from the staff at Casanova Law is also unrivaled. Our compassion together with our knowledge will inspire confidence in your representation.
Call us or send us a message through our contact form for a comprehensive DUI consultation today.