Costs and Penalties of Driving Under the Influence

When those commercials say you can’t afford a DUI, they aren’t lying. The costs and penalties for driving under the influence are greater than most people think. If you’re wondering how a DUI could affect your life, then take a look at these facts. 

Behind Bars

Even for your first offense, you can find yourself facing up to six months jail. All 50 states classify a DUI as a misdemeanor, but your sentencing ultimately depends on the circumstances of your arrest. Some states serve harsher sentences the higher your blood alcohol concentration is, for instance. 

Most states also uphold mandatory minimum sentencing, which means you’ll almost certainly spend a few nights in jail. If you’re on your second or third DUI, then you can expect that minimum to increase. Subsequent offenders find themselves facing several months behind bars. 

A car accident lawyer in Texas also pointed out that a DUI might not be the only charge you’re facing. Your arrest could be classified as a felony if you caused an accident or are on your fourth DUI. While state laws vary, felony arrests carry a sentence of several years. 

Draining the Bank

Aside from time spent behind bars, you’ll also face hefty fines and fees. Esurance broke down the cost behind a DUI conviction, finding an average total of $8,966. That includes everything from your DMVC reissue fee to increases in your insurance premium and impound fees.

Your Driver’s License

Even in the best of scenarios, most drivers lose their license for an extended period. Both the court and your state’s motor vehicles department can make this decision. On average, a first-time offender loses their license for at least 90 days. 

States also serve the same penalty if you refuse to take a blood, urine, or breathalyzer test whether you are found guilty or not. In some cases, the state may choose to temporarily cancel your vehicle registration instead.

Alternative Punishments

With the right DUI attorney, you might be able to keep your license. The court can decide to have you take courses that teach the dangers of alcohol, help prevent it’s abuse, and work to overcome alcohol dependency. 

Community service and victim restitution are also forms of alternative punishment. These sentences are often given in addition to jail time, fines, and suspending your license. So, you can expect your costs to increase with each form of punishment the judge chooses to add on. 

Insurance Premiums

If all of that isn’t enough, you also have to deal with your insurance company. Any type of accident increases your premium, but a DUI often causes a dramatic spike in your total cost. Since this charge stays on your record for several years, you can expect to pay a higher price for insurance for the foreseeable future. 

Civil Suits

Last, but not least, you may have to appear in civil court as well. If anyone was injured as a result of your DUI, they can sue you for their medical costs as well as property damage. You might also have to pay for their pain and suffering. The bottom line is, you really can’t afford a DUI.