The true cost of a DUI can’t be explained with a single figure. There are financial costs, of course, but other losses, like jobs or scholarship opportunities to universities could also add to the overall expense of the crime.
Nationally, the average cost of a DUI crime is around $10,000. This includes bail and legal fees. It can also include higher expenses in insurance and the loss of time on the job.
How do DUI costs compare in South Carolina and other states?
In South Carolina, a first-time DUI costs approximately $7,772-$10,172. The initial minimum fine is $400. Penalty assessments are $600. There are fees in addition to this, including the Alcohol Abuse Education Fund (AAEF), state restitution fees, driving alcohol school, jail cite and release fee, license reissue fee, attorney fees and higher costs for auto insurance.
The state fund fee is around $100, while the AAEF costs another $50. The breath test and jail cost another $47 in fees. Driving school is $375. Attorneys cost an average of $2,500. Increases in auto insurance can be as much as $6,000.
In the nearby state of North Carolina, fees are actually lower. The total cost for a DUI may be around $6,890 to $9,290. The primary difference is in the cost of driving school. In North Carolina, it is only a $75 fee. The state restitution fund takes $393, and the penalty assessment is only $50.
If you instead get a DUI in Georgia, expect similar fees. The minimum fine is $300 with additional fees for reissuing your license, attending driving school and funding alcohol abuse education. The total cost of a DUI in Georgia is around $8,009 to $9,509.
If this is a first-time DUI, you may be able to escape with the minimum fees, helping you reduce what you owe overall. Keep in mind that your attorney will do all they can to help you receive the fewest fines and penalties. They may even be able to help you eliminate the charges altogether.
DUIs are expensive, and they impact a large part of your life, at least in the short term. It’s a wise choice to work with someone who can help you protect your legal rights as well as to understand the realities of getting a DUI conviction. Your life could change forever with a conviction, so it’s always a good choice to fight against one.