Because of the many thousands of victims of fatal drunk driving accidents each year, most states continue to enact tougher laws with stricter sentences. It is not as easy as it once was to walk away from a first offense with a slap on the wrist. More states are including mandatory jail time and other penalties for first convictions.
Delaware ranks among the top ten strictest states for drunk driving laws, according to a recent report. Here, a drunk driving conviction can lead to far more than a fine and community service. In fact, you may be shocked to discover how much a drunk driving arrest can end up costing you.
Can you afford a conviction?
A fine for a first offense DUI conviction can cost you between a couple hundred dollars to over a thousand. However, the fine is only the beginning. Just because the judge orders you to complete some penalty does not mean the court will pay for it. In fact, some statistics show that a DUI with no prior convictions, accidents or sentence enhancement factors can still end up costing you as much as $25,000. Some unexpected costs for which you may be responsible include:
- Installing and maintaining an ignition interlock system in all your vehicles, which is mandatory now in many states including Delaware
- Alcohol assessment, education or treatment programs
- Community service supervision fee
- Any random urine or blood tests the court orders you to take
- The cost of transportation while your license is under suspension
- The cost of reinstating your license after your suspension ends
- The hike in your insurance premiums, which may reach triple what you paid before your conviction
You can also include costs such as bail, towing and impounding of your vehicle, and separate fees for court costs, jail time and the sentencing process, each of which may cost several hundred dollars. Of course, if your DUI conviction results in the loss of your job or professional certification, you can include that into the financial loss you may be facing.
The wise course of action is to find a skilled attorney who can fight for your rights throughout the process of dealing with your DUI arrest. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine if authorities violated your rights in any way. With the help of an experienced legal professional, you may improve your chances of avoiding some of the harsh consequences of a drunk driving arrest.