How a DUI Penalty Can Affect Your Personal Finances

Getting a DUI can be a devastating experience, and the pain just seems to keep on coming. It is humiliating for friends and family to find out about your lack of good judgment, but a DUI charge and conviction can also work on your pocketbook with a constant barrage of charges that seem to never end.

One Time Charges

When you are charged with driving while under the influence, your nest egg will immediately take a big hit from the following:

  • Bail that can range anywhere from just over a $100 to close to $3000

  • Towing fees and fees for storage if you are unable to retrieve your car immediately; these can be up to $1,200 in some cities and depend on how long the car is impounded
  • Court costs and any fines for the DUI infraction which can run from $300 to $1,200, depending on the state in which the DUI occurred
  • Punitive charges to reimburse the victim for any mental or physical pain and suffering
  • Payment for a new license, which can be anywhere from $50 to over $200, if the current one has been revoked due to a DUI conviction
  • Costs of the breathalyzer test or any blood work to determine alcohol levels in the blood
  • Expenses of as much as $2,000 associated with court ordered rehabilitation such as an alcohol treatment program
  • Attorneys fees of anywhere between $2,000 to $25,000 which can add up rapidly if you choose to fight the DUI charge or have had a previous conviction
  • Miscellaneous fees such as an impact penalty or filing costs

Long Term Costs

Some of the financial strain caused by a DUI infraction is difficult to quantify. A DUI conviction can continue to strain the budget for years after the incident in the following ways:

  • Lawyers fees resulting from any civil cases associated with a DUI accident

  • Higher cost for life insurance and auto insurance premiums in the future
  • Lost wages due to a revocation of a driver’s license
  • Future difficulty obtaining a job or having to take a lower wage job because you cannot get a commercial driver’s license or because of the DUI discovered during a background check
  • Loss of professional licenses or certifications

Clearly, a DUI will put a dent in any budget, but it will be even more devastating if there have been previous convictions. Attorney fees and court costs can be quite extensive for repeat offenders. Although DUI fees and penalties differ in each state, an estimated total financial repercussion for just one conviction is estimated to be around $10,000. The ongoing financial consequences could last a lifetime.

Julie Simpson is a contributing writer at Katz & Phillips, P.A. If you need to consult an Orlando DUI Attorney or have questions about Florida DUI penalties please visit their website.

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