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Do not overlook the hidden costs of a DUI conviction

On the surface, you know that the consequences of a DUI conviction likely include the loss of your driver’s license, a stint in the county jail, potential probation, a stiff fine and restitution for any damages. Remember, these are the penalties you expect after driving drunk, getting arrested and shamed in court.

However, underneath those penalties lie many surprising and not-so-surprising hidden costs, financially and reputationally. And they could have long-lasting effects on different facets of your life. Among them include rising car insurance costs as you now represent a driving risk as well as a tarnished reputation among family, friends, peers and professional colleagues.

Higher insurance rates, rehabilitation costs

The hidden costs of a DUI conviction are varied. Regardless, you will feel the pinch in different ways. Here are some of them:

  • A disgraced reputation: In some cases, people will judge you harshly. Whispers behind your back at family gatherings are not uncommon. Friends and neighbors may avoid you or limit contact with you. There is the possibility that you could lose your job, too. And, if you are looking for work, expect some prospective employers to discard your resume.
  • A significant increase in car insurance rates: Auto insurance companies frown upon a drunk driving conviction, so expect your new insurance premiums to double. You are officially a risk. And, in some cases, your insurance provider may cancel your policy.
  • Smaller paychecks: If you must serve your sentence in the county jail, expect that you may miss some work hours. Then you will not get paid. Thirty days in jail will provide quite a financial pinch. However, some counties may offer work release privileges.
  • Paying for substance abuse intervention programs: South Carolinians convicted of DUI must complete this state endeavor known as the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program if they hope to regain their driver’s license. And, in some cases, a court may order you to enroll in a costly alcohol rehabilitation program.
  • Costs related to in ignition interlock device: In South Carolina, some people convicted of DUI may have to have a breath alcohol ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. Drivers blow into the device before starting the vehicle. If the ignition interlock device detects alcohol, the vehicle will not start. Some even include a camera.

As you can see, there are additional hidden costs that stem from a DUI conviction. The list goes beyond criminal penalties.

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