Wednesday, September 30, 2015, AM | 7 Comments
There are costs associated with a DWI arrest that many people fail to realize at the time they see those red lights flashing in the car mirror. Such costs include fines, penalties, insurance surcharges, court costs, bail, attorney fees and driver education programs.
Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious matter in all 50 states.
What follows is a brief outline revealing important information concerning the costs associated with losing a DUI case and what to do about guarding against the financial struggle that results from it.
Court Costs Fines and Penalties
The simple act of going to court costs money. It does not matter if you waive your right to a trial and accept a plea agreement. The court needs to be compensated for its time.
If you plead guilty or are found guilty, you will pay fines and court costs. In addition to these, many states tack on additional fees. The states justify these fees by reporting that the monies collected go toward drug and alcohol awareness programs.
Protecting Your Rights
If you are a driver of a motor vehicle that is charged with driving while intoxicated, you will have two cases on your hands.
One of these cases will be criminal and the other will be civil.
Your criminal case will likely be prosecuted by the County Attorney’s Office.
Your civil case will involve your driving privileges. For this reason, it will likely be prosecuted by state attorneys working within the Department of Public Safety.
The professional legal staff at the law firm of Harron Law, with Austin, TX, criminal defense attorneys, says that in all likelihood, you will be given a certain number of days (usually 15) from the date of your DUI arrest to request an Administrative License Revocation Hearing.
You do not want to default on your right to this hearing because your driver’s license will automatically be suspended. For this reason, you should not take chances. You should retain an attorney to request this hearing for you.
Insurance Premiums and Surcharges
A DUI conviction earns you high-risk status in terms of car insurance. At this point, insurance providers will either deny you coverage altogether, or charge you a very elevated rate to play.
The insurance rate you end up paying will be based on your insurer’s perception of what your worst-case driving scenario could be. Remember, from their point of view, you might take another human being’s life.
In the U.S., it is possible to lose a very large sum of money to the court system even before you’re convicted. This particular process is called civil forfeiture, and it allows the police to seize, keep and even sell your personal property, including the cash in your pocket, simply by alleging that the cash or property can somehow be connected to a crime.
Property owners need not be arrested for this to happen.
The police simply confiscate your money or property on the spot and issue you a summons. For folks whose property has been seized through civil forfeiture, getting it back is notoriously time consuming and burdensome.
A Drunk Driving Charge Can Drain Your Bank Account
For drivers in any state, the financial impact of a DUI arrest and conviction can be devastating. According to Bankrate.com, the full costs for any one person involved in a DUI conviction will vary and are influenced by many factors.
Drivers should be aware that first-time offenders with no accident involved can expect to shell out between $9,000 and $24,000 after the judge slams the gavel down.
One drink too many can put a driver at risk not only for the loss of his or her freedom, but for fines, penalties and other costs that can run into the thousands.
The full financial toll of a DUI arrest will often play out for several years after the original incident. This is so even if it does not trigger the loss of a job.
DUI charges are always a serious matter. For this and all of the above reasons, drivers need to know how exactly how to protect their rights if they should ever be pulled over by the police after they have been drinking.
Anica Oaks is a Freelance writer and web enthusiast. Read some of her published work on her Google+ page.