“What’s the big deal..I’ve driven home lots of times drunk, nothing has ever happened.” Just because you’ve done it before doesn’t mean you will be able to do it safely again. Ask anyone who has been charged with a DUI, with a DUI crash involving damage, injuries, or deaths…or ask the families of loved ones who have been injured or lost due to a DUI crash. IT IS A BIG DEAL! Yes everyone in our community can do something about it….
Financially a DUI is costly…but do you really know how costly?
• Fines: up to $5000 or more
• Court costs/fees: $135 (if there is no trial)
• Jury/witness costs: $400-$500 (for a trial)
• Attorney fees: $150 for public defender & $70/hour if it goes to trial or $100-$300/hour for private counsel
• Vehicle impound and towing
• Chemical dependency assessment and mandatory alcohol classes: $325 or more
• Driver license reinstatement fee: $200
Additional options that the Judge may order:
• Victim’s Impact Panel: Cost varies
• Ignition Interlock: $75-$120 installation plus $70/month
• Transdermal alcohol monitoring device: $10-12/day or $300-360/month
• 24-7 Sobriety Program: $4 per day or $120/month
Do you think it’s a big deal yet? If the alcohol assessment mandates treatment, you could pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. A DUI crash may easily cost more than $100,000 if injuries are involved. Your wages could be garnished indefinitely due to a civil judgment for personal injury and punitive damages if anyone was injured or killed while you were driving under the influence.
Figure in higher auto insurance, even health insurance rates could go up or be denied. Credit Scores could be affected raising your interest rates. Can you still afford the cost? How about if you lose your job because of a DUI conviction? With the money you spend on a DUI you could pay for your child’s college education for a semester or more, take a 5-day cruise or other vacation, upgrade your boat, Jet Ski or snowmobile or even put a down payment on a new vehicle or vacation property.
Serious traffic convictions stay on your record for life….and they stack up. Your license can be suspended for 6 months on your first offense and a year or more on subsequent offenses. A fourth DUI conviction is a felony and can be considered in any future sentencing no matter how minor. A DUI conviction can affect all aspects of your life and your family’s lives.
Reducing crashes, injuries and deaths related to DUIs will take effort from our entire community. Call 911 to report drunk drivers. For more information go to: Plan2live.mt.gov. If you want to help make a difference in your community, consider becoming a member of the Injury Prevention Team/DUI Task Force. Call Mary, Injury Prevention Specialist/DUI Task Force Coordinator at the Richland County Health Department 433-2207.