It’s the holiday season, which means spending time with friends and family at parties and celebrations. It also means, often times, drinking more alcoholic drinks than planned. One thing that should be planned before you to out is how you will get home.
Drinking and driving crashes historically increase during the month of December. In fact, between Christmas and New Year’s Day, the average number of fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers increases by 34 percent in the U.S.
Not only can impaired driving have devastating and deadly consequences, it also puts you in a position to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI). The legal and financial costs of getting a DUI are significant. People who get a DUI often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s licenses, increased insurance rates, and many other expenses, including attorney fees, court costs, car towing and repairs and lost wages due to time off from work. All in all, the estimated cost of a DUI is between $10,000 and $15,000.
Here’s a breakdown of the costs associated with a DUI.
First, there is bail. Bail for a DUI is about $2,500. Your car will most likely have to be towed, which is between $175 and $225. You will need a lawyer, which will set you back between $5,000 and $7,000, depending on the lawyer. A fine for the first offense is about $1,000. Fines could be more if you got any other charges when pulled over.
In addition, you have to factor in a license reinstatement fee – after 6 months of not having a license – which is between $400 and $700, depending on the state. Other costs include DUI school, which is between $1,000 and $2,000 and mandatory 12-month probation, which is around $40 a month. And, don’t forget to include the cost of taking days off to go to court and at least 40 hours of community service.
The penalties for being charged for a DUI are stiff, but if someone else is injured or killed as a result of driving while impaired, the charges can include manslaughter and murder. Ultimately, the holidays should be a time of fun and celebrations, not a time of grief and criminal charges. Don’t drive after you have been drinking. Make a plan for a ride home before you go out. With ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft, it is easier than ever to avoid driving impaired. Be safe and have a great holiday.