Whether you were celebrating with friends, having a quiet dinner with a loved one or meeting a coworker for drinks after work, a DWI arrest on the way home may have brought an unexpected end to the day. However, it is only the beginning of your troubles.
Even if this is your first offense, it is nothing to take lightly. You may be feeling embarrassed and a little foolish, but if you do not take the charges seriously, you may also be feeling financially strapped for quite a while into the future. In addition to the potential for severe penalties such as jail time and loss of driving privileges, you face the possibility of spending many thousands of dollars in fines, fees and other expenses directly resulting from a DWI conviction.
Hold on to your wallet
The cost of a taxi or rideshare to get home from your favorite restaurant or bar is undeniably getting expensive. However, one agency has estimated that the amount of money you will pay out following a DWI conviction is about the same as the cost of taking a taxi from North Carolina to the coast of Australia. In addition to a fine the court may impose, you can expect any of the following expenses to be part of resolving your DWI:
- Court costs
- Fees for jail, sentencing and probation supervision
- Fees for community service supervision
- The cost of any chemical testing that is part of your probation
- The cost of alcohol counseling, education programs or substance abuse treatment
- The installation and maintenance cost of an ignition interlock device on your vehicle
- Towing and impound fees
- The cost of getting your driver's license reinstated
- The loss of income for days you must be in court, in jail, or completing your community service or alcohol education classes
- The loss of income if a DWI conviction results in your termination from your job or the revocation of your professional license
You may also have to think about that taxi ride to Australia. While you may not be taking a cab to work every day, you may have to rely on ridesharing or the generosity of friends to get you where you need to go while your license is under suspension. When you do get your license back, be prepared for the potential that your insurer will consider you a high-risk driver and hike your rates.
All this may seem overwhelming, and for many, it is. It is not unusual for someone to face a period of real financial struggle following a DWI, and sometimes, that conviction was based on faulty evidence or poor police work. Having a legal advocate by your side as early as possible after your arrest is a wise move for obtaining the best possible results for your situation.