Don't drink and drive. You've likely heard this warning many times before, but now that you are dealing with an arrest for DUI, the gravity of your situation is likely becoming much clearer. Drunk driving is something law enforcement takes very seriously, and the officer who pulled you over was probably not willing to let you off easy, even if your blood alcohol level was low.
In addition to the embarrassment of being arrested, a DUI charge can put your whole life in limbo. You must put your plans on hold. Your job may be in jeopardy. The future is uncertain. However, you may never have considered the effect that a drunk driving arrest can have on your finances.
Money through your hands
From the moment you were pulled over, the cash register was ringing. Tests, processing and assessments aren't cheap, and guess who pays the bill. If a court convicts you, some of the costs you may face include:
- BAC testing
- Restitution to the state of Tennessee
- Alcohol abuse classes
- Driver re-education
- Ignition interlock installation and monthly fee
- Jail release fee
- License reissue fee
- Your fine
- Penalty assessment
You will also likely have to pay your attorney, and your auto insurance rates will undoubtedly go up, perhaps drastically. Mandatory license suspension may force you to find alternative methods of transportation, such as cabs or buses. Data compiled across the country places the average cost of a first offense DUI between $7,800 and $10,000.
Paying more than money
Of course, if this is not your first arrest, the penalties you face will be compounded. A conviction for subsequent DUIs in Tennessee often results in considerably higher fines and mandatory jail time. This total is for a DUI arrest that is not the result of an accident. If your arrest includes an accident, you can imagine the cost will be much higher, especially if the accident resulted in injuries or worse.
Beyond the financial cost, you will certainly have personal issues to face, including the possible loss of your job and the damage a DUI may have on your relationships. While the assistance of a dedicated legal advisor may not be able to help you with your personal life, an attorney can provide defense strategies that will improve your chances of avoiding some of the harsh and expensive penalties that result from a DUI conviction.