One person dies in a drunk-driving accident every 50 minutes. The number of deaths have fallen in the last 30 years by about 33%, but still kill more than 10,000 people every year. The loss of life is devastating, and the loss of income and financial repercussions can be life-changing.
What DUIs Really Cost
The average DUI in Florida costs about $10,000. You can expect to pay a number of expenses, expected and unexpected:
- Towing and impound costs
- Drunk driving education programs
- Higher insurance fees
- Court and probation costs
- Attorney fees
- Drug and alcohol counseling and assessment
- Reinstatement of driver’s license fees
- Lost income, loss of job
- Potential jail time
It’s easy to see how a DUI can derail your entire life. Most drivers that are arrested do spend time in jail, have a mandatory license suspension, pay fines and skyrocketing insurance premiums.
Those arrested are required to undergo alcohol abuse assessment, because nearly 6% of adults in the US that are over age 18 have a condition called Alcohol Use Disorder, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse. Even if you’re not at fault, another driver can cause you serious financial damage.
If you are unlucky enough to be hit by an uninsured driver, you may wind up with financial liabilities that you did not anticipate. Fortunately, most people carry uninsured motorist coverage, but these claims are more complicated than most, so a good lawyer is mandatory.
In fact, in order to beat a Florida DUI, it’s almost always necessary to get help from an attorney. Lawyer fees are almost always worth the time and effort in these serious cases, especially if you have gotten a DUI before. Let’s take a closer look at the actual financial toll on personal finances, so you know what to expect.
You can assume that you’ll have to pay between $100 and $2,500 to get out of jail. And yes, anybody arrested for DUI will likely wind up in jail at least for a short period of time.
The amount of fines that you will pay can vary a lot. But even for a first-time offense, you can pay up to $1,800.
Impound Charges and Towing Fees
The cost depends on how long your car is in the impound lot, but most people are mortified when they see how high these charges are, and the fees accrue daily.
Towing charges can also be exorbitant. Unfortunately, you will not get your car back until you pay back every cent.
Charges for Screenings
Often you will be asked to take urine tests as a condition of your probation. There are charges for every one of these tests in addition to the fee for the visit. It’s not unusual for them to top out over $100.
Defendants can be nickel-and-dimed by the system, and can be charged for things like time spent in jail, which carries a price-tag as high as $300 a night; sentencing fees, which can be as much as a couple of hundred dollars; and probation fees, which can be as little as $200 to well over $1,000.
You’ll also have to add in the cost of medical treatment and income lost while you’re in jail or fighting your case in court. Some people lose their income permanently because they get fired.
Fortunately, your arrest can be removed from your record. This is called expungement, which will help minimize the financial impact and damage to reputation that are so often the result of being arrested for a DUI.