What Happens if I Get a DUI? And How Does That Affect Me Financially?

Every state is tough on drunk driving. In most states, you’re arrested if you’re suspected of a DUI. That’s right! You go to jail where you sit until you sober up and go before the judge. Before you drink and drive, you need to know what else can happen if you get caught drinking and driving.

Circumstances Matter

Each state has its own DUI rules. For example, in Maryland, a DUI offender with a history of a DUI conviction can be fined up to $3,000 and have their license suspended for 18 months. Other states have tougher laws.

In Florida, if your blood alcohol level is .16 or higher, you face jail time of up to six months and a fine of up to $5,000, according to the Florida Department of Safety. If you have a minor in the car with you when you are charged with the DUI, you will also likely face jail time. The circumstances of the charge matter. If you were right at the .08 blood alcohol level, were not involved in an accident, and have no priors, you may skirt the jail time, but there will still be other consequences.

Prepare to Pay

While jail time is just a possibility, there is a relative amount of certainty that a DUI will cost you plenty. No one should try to fight a DUI on their own, so you will need to pay for a lawyer. On top of the legal fees, you will have to pay fines and court costs.

On average, you should expect to spend between $3,000-$7,000 on a DUI. That figure does not include missed time from work to attend court dates or if you are given a jail sentence. You will also have to deal with the fallout from a DUI conviction with your car insurance. Your insurance rates will skyrocket because of a DUI. The cost of a DUI can be felt in many ways.

Lose Your License

If you are convicted of a DUI in Florida, for example, there is an automatic six-month suspension of your driver’s license. That six-month period is only relative to first-time offenders. For offenders that have already been convicted one or more times, the suspension can be as long as forever. A habitual DUI offender can have their license suspended for the rest of their life.

Go to School

If you are charged with a DUI, your lawyer may recommend taking an alcohol intervention class before your court date to help your case. The judge may also order that you take an alcohol diversion class as part of your sentence. Either way, you should plan on being in a class soon. The cost of the class will come out of your pocket. Of course, these classes are lengthy and can take up much of your time.

For over 7,000 years, humans have been making alcohol by fermenting grains and plants, according to Anthropology Today. Drinking is not the problem; it is drinking and then driving. Do yourself a huge favor, don’t drink and drive. There are many other ways to get around after a night of celebrating. If you pick up a DUI charge, call an attorney who can help.