A DWI conviction is a big deal, whether it is your first one or fifth. The penalties are severe and can have far-reaching effects on all areas of your life, from driving privileges to employment. One consequence not to underestimate is the impact on your finances.
QuoteWizard estimates that the average cost of a DUI is about $10,000. This number does not include lost wages, meaning that the stakes could even be higher in your situation. Where do all the costs come from?
The most obvious expense is the fines you will have to pay if you receive a conviction. In New York, a first offense results in a $500 fine. If your BAC was extremely high (aggravated DWI), the fine becomes at least $1,000. Subsequent convictions lead to fines in the thousands, with the highest being $10,000.
This financial obligation does not include other legal costs, such as court fees, license reinstatement fees, bail or treatment programs you have to complete. As you can see, the bill quickly adds up just from the judicial side of the situation.
Additional costs that come from a DWI may include the following:
- Towing services and/or impounding of your vehicle
- Installation of an ignition interlock device
- Use of public transportation, a taxi or a ridesharing service until you regain your driver's license
- Increase in insurance premiums
Indirect financial harm
If you lose your license, you may have difficulty getting to work, and you can lose your job, which will make it hard to pay your regular bills. Spending time in jail can also affect your employment. If you are in school, a DWI on your record can cause you to lose scholarships and other forms of financial aid, depending on the circumstances.
Overall, a DWI charge brings many life challenges. The best thing you can do is invest in a strong legal defense to prevent facing these consequences, or at least reduce them.