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The Costs of a DUI Arrest

If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, you have probably realized that the costs of a DUI/DWI arrest are great, both emotionally and financially.

Emotionally, there is the shame of being arrested, of having to go to court, of dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and of telling your family, maybe even your boss. The emotional and psychological costs of a DUI arrest are different for everyone, but when it comes to the money, everyone is in the same boat.

Even if you decide not to fight the charges against you, your finances will still take a big hit. The initial costs are the fines, penalties and surcharges. If it is required of you, it will also cost money to do the sheriff’s work program. You may also have to pay a fee to choose, within certain limits, when you serve your jail time so that it is the least disruptive to your life. There is also a program fee for enrollment in the alcohol classes and you will have to pay the DMV for reinstating your driver's license.

It does not stop there. You may also have to pay for an ignition interlock device if the judge decides it is necessary. An ignition interlock device is basically a breathalyzer that is put in the steering column of your car. Unless it shows that your blood alcohol content (BAC) is below a certain level, the car will not start. Once the vehicle is running, you have to retest every fifteen minutes to one hour.

It also costs money when your license is taken from you when you are arrested. You will have a “temporary license” for 30 days, during which you can still legally drive a motor vehicle. Then there is a “hard suspension” for another 30 days when you cannot legally drive. If you are like most people, you will probably still need to get around, whether it is to and from work, your children’s school, the grocery store, and so on. You will not have to pay for gas, but public transportation is rarely free. If your license is ultimately suspended by the DMV, you can apply for a temporary drivers license, but there are fees to pay there too. If you continue to drive while your license is suspended, you will incur additional criminal charges and all the costs involved.

Another cost will be your insurance rates. After the DMV suspends your license, you will need to have a certain kind of insurance for three years before you can get your license back. If you can find an insurance company that provides it—not all do—this type of insurance is usually more expensive, as you would probably guess. Because this kind of insurance is a tell-tale sign of a DUI/DWI, some insurance companies will refuse to insure you in the future.