A DUI conviction, in addition to carrying stiff penalties such as jail and driver’s license suspension, can be hurt your finances. The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles estimates that the total cost of a DUI conviction, including fines, insurance increases and attorney fees, is typically around $8,000. This alone is incentive to seek out the best counsel to mount a careful defense — if avoiding jail and license suspension isn’t reason enough.
These are some of the out-of-pocket costs you may face:
- Fines — For a first conviction in a DUI case, the fines are $500 to $1,000 — and double that amount for DUIs for blood alcohol content of .15 percent or more. The fines also increase if you’ve had previous DUI convictions.
- DMV charges — The DMV will charge fees for any driving records you require, as well as other fees associated with reinstating your license or temporary licensing.
- Probation costs — If you’ve been sentenced to probation, you may have to pay fees associated with drug testing, telephone reporting, monitoring and other administrative costs.
- Community service — Your sentence or plea agreement may also include community service with the option to pay the hourly rate for the work instead of completing the service.
- Alcohol education program — In Florida, drunk driving sentences can also require completion of an alcohol education program, for which you will be charged nearly $300.
- Towing and impoundment costs — Even if you’re not convicted, you may have to pay for your car to be towed and impounded, which is standard procedure after a DUI arrest.
So it’s clear that a win in court — or even a fair plea deal — can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Hiring a knowledgeable lawyer who has successfully defended clients in DUI cases can make all the difference. These cases can be complex and many criminal defense lawyers don’t have experience with the nuances of the process. A skilled attorney may be able to have charges dropped or reduced and, even if you are convicted, can help you minimize the penalties and the long-term consequences of a DUI on your record.
Alan Fowler and his law firm, Key West Criminal Defense, have extensive experience fighting for his clients in DUI cases in Key West, the Florida Keys, and Monroe County, Florida. Call (305) 417-9378 or contact us online for a free consultation.