The True Costs of a DUI
Alcohol is an expensive habit, but getting a DUI is even more expensive. Few people are aware of just how much a DUI conviction can cost. Sometimes people decide not to get a DUI lawyer on their side because they think it will be too expensive to hire one, but it may cost even more to go without. Here are the real costs of getting just a single DUI conviction.
A DUI Can’t be Expunged
In the State of Georgia, once you are convicted of a DUI, it can never be removed from your record. It is permanent. Why is this a problem? First, a record of DUI in your criminal history will prevent you outright from getting many driving-related jobs. Other employers vary on their attitudes towards past DUI, but it is often negative, and you may have to explain the history of your DUI experience at every interview.
However, if you are not convicted or your charge is dismissed, you can get the record of your arrest sealed. Georgia currently calls this “record restriction.” This prevents people from finding out about your arrest unless they are law enforcement or in the criminal justice system. Having a DUI lawyer on your side like the team at HSK can help put you into this favorable situation.
Insurance Rates Increase
DUI convicts are often shocked at how much their insurance rates rise after a DUI conviction. Depending on the state, it can be thousands of dollars. A 2016 study done by Nerd Wallet found that insurance rates often jump by a minimum of $800 a year. In California, the most expensive state to get a DUI, the cost jumps by $2200. These rates will follow you for a decade.
Legal Fines and Fees
There are also several fines you’ll be forced to pay as a result of a DUI conviction, such as:
- Fines for the crimes you’re convicted for
- Fees for probation services, DUI school, and/or diversion and treatment programs
- Fees for an ignition interlock device, if it is part of your sentence
- Court and lawyer fees
Just the legal fines and fees alone can escalate to beyond $10,000, especially if the case goes to trial. It goes without saying that a dismissed DUI charge is less expensive than being convicted.
This can be the most damaging consequence of all. Reliable transportation is a basic assumption of most employers. For people who want to follow the law, finding someone who is willing to drive you to work for a year or even longer is a challenge. Often people choose to drive anyway just so they can keep their job, which puts them at great risk for further arrest, steeper fines, and an even longer suspension.
If you have been arrested for DUI, the costs of getting a conviction are too great to ignore. The attorneys at Hawkins Spizman Kilgo are ready to help you. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Atlanta, call today for a free consultation.