If you enjoy an adult beverage or two with friends at the end of the week, you know that a night out is not cheap. In addition to your own drinks, you may spring for a round for everyone, order dinner or purchase appetizers to share. You will certainly leave a nice tip for the bartender.
However much a night at the bar sets you back, it may pale in comparison to what you may pay if police pull you over under suspicion of drunk driving on the way home. Unlike a speeding ticket, you will not pay your fine and go on with your life. A DUI conviction can haunt you for years afterward, both personally and financially.
Tally up the cost
The first way in which a first-offense DUI conviction will cost you is your bail after police release you from jail. This can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. It may not be the last you see of jail either. If a court convicts you, the judge may sentence you to up to 10 days behind bars. You may lose pay from work during this time. You can also calculate the potential for losing work if the court sentences you to community service, counseling or DUI classes.
In addition to your fine, other fees and financial penalties may include the following:
- Fees for towing and impounding of your vehicle, if necessary
- Fees to pay the court for your trial and administrative paperwork
- Fees to pay for your stay in jail
- Fees to cover the cost of supervising your probation and community service
- The cost of any classes or counseling the court may order
- The price for installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device, if the court orders it
- The cost of any random drug or alcohol testing the court orders
- The price for reinstatement of your driver's license after your suspension ends
You can also consider the cost of paying for cabs or ride-sharing while you are under suspension and the hike in your insurance rates that may last for years. Unfortunately, a DUI conviction also jeopardizes many jobs. Depending on your line of work, your employer may consider you too high a risk to keep on the payroll, especially if your job includes driving.
Adding it all up
The total cost for a first-time DUI conviction in Georgia can reach $10,000 or more, depending on the circumstances. A DUI may threaten your job or future prospects, and it is not uncommon for personal relationships to suffer following a DUI. This is why it may be in your best interests to seek legal advice about the most appropriate steps to take when facing charges for drunk driving.