We can all imagine the personal ramifications from a DUI arrest, not the least of which are the potential jail time, personal embarrassment, feelings of guilt and the need to rely on others for transportation after the loss of a license. But many do not understand the financial toll this type of arrest can take. Statistics show that the average cost of a DUI in which no one is injured and no property is damaged is roughly $10,000. In Illinois, the average cost of a conviction is more than $16,000. Many states, in an effort to crack down on these types of offenses, have increased the fees associated with DUI arrest and conviction – and they could easily wipe you out financially, making a bad situation even worse. These costs do not take into account your past history. Repeat offenders face stiffer penalties and will likely pay more than first-time offenders.
What kinds of fees are involved?
Initially following an arrest the individual’s car is usually towed to an impound lot. Impound fees vary wildly, depending on where you were arrested, but they can range anywhere from $100 per day to upward of $1,200 per day. Failure to pay the fee and retrieve the car results in additional charges that are compounded daily. In some cities, if individuals are unable to pay the fees and regain possession of their vehicle before 30 days, their vehicle can be auctioned off.
After you are arrested, you will have to make bail to be released. Depending on your situation, this can cost you thousands of dollars. If you do not have the cash, you can use a bonding company which will charge you a premium for covering your bail.
There are also costs associated with lost work and court fees. Most courts require a personal appearance, typically during normal business hours. This requires individuals to take anywhere from a few hours to a full day off from work to attend a court hearing. Additionally, if convicted there are fines and court fees which can range from hundreds of dollars to well over $1,000.
The emptying of your wallet does not end once court fees, fines and impound fees are paid. Auto insurance premiums can double or triple for an individual following a DUI arrest. Premiums can remain high for 3 to 5 years depending on the insurance company. Additionally, it can take 5 years of a perfect driving record to regain preferred driver status and any reduction in premiums.
The financial impact of a DUI arrest and conviction can have devastating financial consequences. If you have been arrested, you should contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to help limit the damage and avoid the consequences of accepting a conviction for driving under the influence. Avoiding a conviction can help you avoid or eliminate many of the costs associated with a DUI arrest.
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DUI in Illinois & the Devastation to Your Personal Finances