The Price of Drinking & Driving

If you thought that your last drink was pricey, wait until you get hit with the hefty bill of a DUI conviction. The cost isn’t cheap: depending on your state and record, the average can total anywhere from $11K to an eye-popping $30K! So if you don’t want another expensive beverage any time soon, it’s best to stay safe when drinking.

Not only are there monetary and legal ramifications of DUI convictions, but you’re also dangerously jeopardizing your safety as well as other motorists on the roadway. Shockingly, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that a staggering 28 people die in drunk driving accidents each day. Additionally, an estimated 1 out of 3 individuals will experience a (sometimes fatal) drunk driving collision at some point during their lifetime.

In the end, drinking and driving is a totally avoidable event. All it takes to guarantee your safety, financial security, legal status, and the safety of others on the road is to ensure you don’t get behind the wheel of motor vehicles after consuming alcohol.


How Is The Cost Of A DUI Conviction Calculated?

A DUI can be an expensive and time-consuming consequence for those convicted. Subsequent charges will result in more stringent fines, possible jail time, and license suspension, not to mention hefty legal bills from attorneys. So if you find yourself facing a DUI charge, expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000 before any vehicle damages are even factored into the equation!

General charges used to determine the cost of a DUI includes:


  • Blood Alcohol Test: $500 – $1,000
  • Towing and Impound: $100 – $1,200
  • Car Insurance Premiums: $4,500 – $10,000
  • Jail Fee: $10 – $50
  • Court Costs: $150 – $1,800
  • Bail: $150 – $2,500
  • Probation Supervisor: $600 – $1,200
  • Mandated Counseling: $1,000 – $2,500
  • Lawyers Fees: $2,500 – $5,000
  • Loss of Income: $1,000 – $4,000
  • Driver’s License Reinstatement: $21 – $100


These can easily push the monetary costs well over $10,000.

Apart from the figures presented, there are other elements that can drive up your DUI costs. Such factors include any accidents and/or injuries stemming from alcohol impaired driving, the blood alcohol content drunk drivers, as well as what state they happen to be in at the time of a DUI charge.


When A Drunk Driving Charge Goes To Trial

Deciding to take a DUI case to trial comes with additional attorney’s fees and expenses; however, for those who have an adequate defense, it is almost always advised that they go forth in court. Taking the chance at defending your charges may be worth it in the long run as you could potentially avoid further serious consequences associated with conviction of this offense.

Despite being able to avoid hefty penalties such as DUI fines and insurance increases for first-time offenders, those who have their charges dropped are still obligated to pay the lawyer fees, which can cost over $3,500. After all is said and done, even though some costs may be spared from your total bill, you will likely find yourself with thousands of dollars in legal expenses.


The Social Cost Of A DUI

A DUI conviction can have far-reaching consequences and implications for your self-image and relationships with those close to you. Holding a DUI charge carries the same social stigma as addiction: feelings of shame, depression, or anxiety are common among those convicted. It is important to remember that, although DUIs may seem common when you become the person who must bear this large mark on your record, it can be difficult to overcome its lasting effects. You’ll never again feel like the same person.

On top of all this, a DUI can have extensive consequences on relationships with other people. In addition to being unable to enjoy the occasional beer after work with friends or colleagues, you’ll also need more money to finance yourself through the ordeal; meaning taking up extra hours at work and sacrificing precious time for leisure activities. You may also be subject to random testing during court-mandated classes or treatments, which might prove difficult if you still consume alcohol recreationally.

All in all, it pays off not only monetarily but emotionally as well if one refrains from drinking before driving. The psychological and social consequences of a DUI can be far more damaging than any legal or financial repercussions. Not only do you risk destroying relationships with family and friends, but it may leave an indelible mark on your record that will follow you for years to come. From the moment you are pulled over through all subsequent steps in the process, who knows how long this ordeal could last? What’s worse is that there’s no guarantee that things won’t take an even darker turn if you are less fortunate. A single mistake is simply not worth risking such devastating outcomes. It would be wise to think twice before getting behind the wheel.


The Warning Sign Of Getting A DUI

When you put your freedom, financial stability, and relationships on the line by driving drunk, prevention should be a top priority. If you have been convicted of a drunk driving offense in the past or are considering drinking and driving – these may be signs that alcohol consumption has gone beyond healthy limits, thus leading to alcohol abuse or addiction. It is essential to take preventive strategies before it’s too late!

When evaluating addiction treatment, the cost is much lower than the cost of DUI offenses. Plus, you’re taking proactive steps to develop healthy habits that will benefit your life in the long run. Although fines and insurance rates may shrink over time, they won’t be able to fix or detour you from any alcohol related crashes on their own. But getting help can. Always be safe rather than sorry. Don’t let the threat of addiction become a reality.


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The Union Workforce Initiative is for educational, training, and awareness purposes only. This is not an Employee Assistance Program. We help build awareness within the workforces of employer/employee assistance professionals, substance abuse professionals, nurses, doctors, and other educational professionals.