One of the most frequent questions posed to me during a consultation is “what is this going to cost me?” While my fees are based upon the type of case and the underlying facts, there are numerous other associated costs with drinking and driving.
The simple fact is this: Almost all adult drivers have had alcohol at some point during the same day they drove a car. We are notoriously poor at judging our level of intoxication (almost all my clients tell me they did “really well” on the field sobriety tests) and end up behind the wheel when maybe it wasn’t such a good idea.
So we maybe feel relaxed, loose, a little “buzzed” and ok to drive. I even had a former colleague tell me he drove better after a drink! While that is embarrassing to hear, it’s understandable. One drink usually loosens us up, makes us a bit less inhibited. But it still creates a risk for the driver and all around him. That risk climbs almost exponentially the more the driver drinks. So what about the fines, assuming you don’t kill or hurt someone?
First, the court fines have increased. The basic court costs are now over $2000.00. But we have to add towing and storage costs, since your car was impounded after your arrest. That adds up to roughly $300-$400. The alcohol classes that the court orders start at around $500 for a first offense and go up to about $1,000.00 for subsequent offenses.
The police department who arrested you often puts out their palms to exact repayment of your arrest costs. Most times, the judge will order you to repay them. You want your driver’s license back? The DMV wants $125.00 to reissue it. The final insult? Your insurance can increase by $10,000 per a study by AAA of California.
So, in the long run, you could rent the most luxurious vehicle, with a driver and dinner for 10 people at a fancy restaurant, and not even put a dent in the overall costs of one bad decision at the end of the evening.
What are the long-term consequences to a conviction for DUI? Well, once you’ve been convicted, every time you fill out a job application, you will have to admit to the conviction. Unfortunately, in the current job market, potential employers can be selective in who they decide to hire. A conviction for DUI may make the difference when perspective employers are making a decision on whom to hire. The military, and government and civil service jobs may also be difficult to secure with a conviction for DUI.
If you’ve already got a DUI, now is the time to take advantage of every option within your reach to turn your life around. By recognizing that you have a problem and taking the initiative to get help. Attending the court mandated alcohol education classes can be educational and very helpful. There is also a chance you might even get your record erased.
Feel free to contact a qualified Orange County DUI defense attorney to discuss the particular details of your case in a confidential consultation.