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The lasting costs of DUIs: Understanding DUI expenses

When you get a DUI, the costs you accrue aren't just from being fined by the courts or having to pay for a chemical test. The reality is that a DUI costs thousands of dollars because it affects all aspects of your life.

When you're threatened with a DUI, it's important to know how it could affect you. Why? You need to devise a way to defend yourself and prepare for the worst, should you end up with a conviction.

What kinds of costs do you pay for a DUI?

A DUI can result in many different kinds of fines, fees and expenses. Here are just a few that occur commonly among individuals who are convicted of a DUI.

  • Bail costs
  • Defense attorney costs
  • Court fines
  • License fees
  • Alcohol treatment and education costs
  • Towing and impound expenses
  • Jail fees
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Chemical testing fees
  • Sentencing fees
  • Ignition interlock device installation fees

Of course, other expenses may include lost wages from missing work, alternative transportation fees to and from court and other locations in your daily life, and higher expenses if you need to find new housing due to restrictions on convictions at your current home.

Additional expenses you may face come from the potential for a civil lawsuit. If a civil lawsuit is filed against you, you could be held liable for property damage, hospital care for anyone injured as a result of your DUI and awards for wrongful deaths.

What should you do if you're caught drinking and driving?

Anyone caught drinking and driving needs to keep in mind that a conviction can lead to many problems in their lives. The best thing they can do is fight back with a strong defense. For instance, questioning the officer's right to pull you over, the Breathalyzer's accuracy or if the officer knew how to give the test accurately could help you identify issues that could result in the dismissal of your case. Similarly, showing that you were not intoxicated or that you were struggling with a medical issue instead could help you defend your rights as well.

A DUI stays on your record and affects you for many years, so it's important to know ways to avoid one. Take a ride-share service, taxi or public transportation to get home if you're intoxicated. Spending a little money to get home safely will save you the small fortune you'd spend due to a conviction.

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