A drunk driving charge can strike anyone who chooses to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after a few drinks and decides that he or she can safely drive home. Teenagers, college students, blue-collar workers, single parents, married people and an assortment of working professionals all are susceptible to making this not-so-tactful decision.
Consider the recent case of a 35-year-old North Dakota school administrator recently arrested and charged with drunk driving, refusing to take a chemical test and leaving the scene of an accident. After allegedly having a few drinks at a bar, he drove home. En route, he drove into some trees and sustained an injury. Not only do people in such situations face criminal charges, they also face many hidden costs when it comes to a drunk driving charge.
Interlock device installation, rehab costs
The hidden costs related to DUI is not a shortlist. Here are some of them that can strike anyone arrested and charged:
- A blow to your personal and professional reputations: Although not a criminal charge or cost, a strike on your reputation may take years to overcome in your community. Not only can you lose your job, but you may see job opportunities shrivel.
- The loss of income: A conviction may lead to a jail sentence for at least a short period of time. While behind bars, you may not be allowed to work, and your paycheck amounts decreases. In some situations, though, some counties may allow work release.
- Increased auto insurance rates: There is really no way around this. Insurance companies consider you an at-risk driver. Your insurance costs likely double upon a conviction.
- Costs linked to the ignition interlock device installation: Expect to pay at least $1,000 annually, but likely a lot more. Those costs are associated with its installation as well as monthly costs for monitoring the device. Connected to your vehicle’s ignition, the device measures alcohol content of the operator’s breath. The slightest detection of alcohol triggers the device and prevents the vehicle from starting.
- Costs tied to substance abuse rehabilitation programs: Whether ordered by the court, or highly recommended by your employer, these treatment programs are designed to help you overcome your problems. However, they may have a daily price tag of hundreds of dollars.
There are several more costs associated with a DUI charge other than incarceration, fines and the loss of your driver’s license. Understanding the penalties may serve as a deterrent in getting behind the wheel after having had a few drinks.