Understanding the Hidden Costs of DUI Convictions
Being arrested and charged with driving under the influence (DUI) can be a frightening experience. In many cases, defendants are reasonably aware that they face various criminal penalties. Depending on the specific charge at hand and an individual’s criminal record, these criminal consequences can include court fines and possible terms of imprisonment. Given the increasing efforts to reduce the prevalence of DUI accidents, injuries, and fatalities throughout the nation, most people are aware that criminal punishment for a DUI conviction exists.
While many may be aware of these penalties – which themselves can be a source of tremendous struggles and setbacks – few are aware of the many collateral repercussions that exist in the wake of a conviction. From driver’s license suspensions to the repercussions of having a criminal conviction on one’s record, the impact created by a DUI conviction can be profound, far-reaching, and a burden on all aspects of one’s life. When you consider these “hidden” consequences in the context of expenses, fees, and ongoing cots, it soon becomes apparent that DUIs can significantly threaten one’s financial stability and future well-being.
BREAKING DOWN THE DUI COSTS & ONGOING EXPENSES
Aside from court fees and fines handed down by the criminal court – which can be extensive in many cases – those convicted of a DUI will also face numerous other expenses as a type of collateral, hidden consequence. To begin breaking down the costs associated with a DUI conviction, it is best to begin with the expenses related directly to the conviction and penalties themselves – which are penalties most convicted individuals will face. First, many people convicted of a DUI are required to attend mandatory court-ordered classes. Depending on the charge and case, these classes can be alcohol education, drinking and driving courses, and / or drug treatment programs – all of which can result in additional costs.
Beyond classes, most DUI charges are punishable by driver’s license suspensions. These costs can include various fees associated with filing certain forms and with restoring your license. In some cases, convicted offenders may also be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle, an on-going expense that may also entail hidden installation and removal fees from third party companies responsible for maintaining the equipment. Nearly always, insurance premiums will rise after your auto insurance provider is informed that you have been convicted of a DUI. Costs created by insurance increases can remain in effect for long periods of time, sometimes to the point to years. Certain offenders who choose to serve community service, work release, home monitoring or other sentencing options in lieu of traditional jail time will also often be required to pay additional fees.
Once you get past the expenses that arise directly from court-mandated penalties, you still may find that a DUI conviction will continue to result in hidden costs. The expenses associated with lost wages from missing work or from being fired can quickly add up. Additionally, your inability to drive may require you to pay for public transportation or for rides from friends and family. The most devastating financial consequence, however, may arise from the costs of lost employment and educational opportunities, as having a criminal conviction on your record can result in significant barriers and limitations, which can negatively affect your earning potential.
Ongoing costs associated with DUI convictions clearly illustrate just how serious this criminal allegation is for those who stand accused. When your financial well-being is at stake, you also run the risk of suffering physically, emotionally, and personally. With such severe penalties and with so much on the line, DUI charges demand the attention of experienced legal representation. Take the time needed to understand the penalties you face and what our firm’s Oklahoma criminal defense attorneys can do to help. Contact AMA Law today.