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Think you can afford a DWI?

A night out may be something you look forward to during a long, difficult work day. Your idea of such a night may be taking a six-pack to a friend's house or singing karaoke at your favorite bar. As the evening continues, you can feel your stress fade away.

Unfortunately, if you get behind the wheel after a night of drinking, you may be dealing with more stress than you can imagine. If police arrest you and charge you with driving while impaired, you face the possibility of harsh penalties that may include fines and jail, if convicted. However, the financial impact of a conviction may be something you deal with for many years to come.

The high cost of a drunk driving conviction

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you may be facing fees and expenses not many people anticipate when they drive after drinking. In fact, some research has shown that a first-offense DWI can end up costing a driver as much as $25,000, and that is a simple DWI that does not involve an accident, property damage or injuries. Some of the expenses that quickly add up after a DWI arrest and conviction may include the following:

  • The cost to tow and impound your vehicle
  • Bail money for your release from jail
  • Fines if a court convicts you
  • Additional fees for jail and sentencing
  • Fees to your probation officer
  • The cost of any drug or alcohol tests you must take as part of your probation
  • Fees for supervision of your community service
  • The cost of any alcohol educational class, driving class or substance abuse counseling the court may order
  • The cost of installing and maintaining an ignition interlock system if the court orders
  • The expense of paying for transportation while your license is under suspension
  • The cost of having your license reinstated at the end of your sentence
  • The substantial hike in your car insurance rates, that is, if you are able to find a company that will insure you with a DWI conviction

In addition to the financial damage a DWI can cause, a drunk driving conviction may rob you of your livelihood, especially if you hold a professional license or drive a commercial vehicle for a living. Finding work with a drunk driving conviction on your record is not easy. Your smartest option is to think ahead and plan for a ride home if you expect to be drinking. If you are already facing DWI charges, you would be wise to seek advice about your legal options.

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