Eight Ways Getting A DUI Impacts Your Personal Finances

by Mike on August 28, 2013

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Getting a DUI can have significant impact on a person’s immediate as well as future personal finances. There are some short-term costs such as fines, as well as long-term consequences such as effect on employment and insurance. It is important for individuals to understand the costs associated with a DUI offense, and the long-term effects of being convicted of a DUI.

1. Fines and fees

First of all, the short term costs of a DUI can already be exorbitant for most individuals. There are many fees associated with DUI’s such as attorney fees, court fees, and even civil suits regarding the DUI. While the actual cost varies by case and the location of the DUI, attorney fees can often exceed $15,000, while court fees can exceed $7,000 in some instances.

2. Cost of insurance

One of the long-term financial consequences of a DUI is the cost of insurance. Insurance coverage will be much higher for individuals who have had a DUI, if they can even find insurance providers to offer them coverage. These increased insurance premiums can add up in the long term and prove to be even more costly than the short-term fees. Think of it as a black mark against your insurance record.

3. Community service

Depending on the severity of the DUI, individuals convicted of DUI can be required to complete up to 100 hours of community service. This can be costly in terms of the travel to the community service sites as well as the foregone income from employment from time spent in community service.

4. Drunk driving school

Drunk driving school or other classes are often mandatory for drivers convicted of DUI. The classes can take over 25 hours and leaves the individual to cover the cost of the lessons, which varies between individual programs but often exceeds $500. It also adds to the time taken away from employment.

5. International travel

Having a DUI may mean that the individual is prohibited from entering certain countries for international travel. This can be inconvenient and limits the employment possibilities for individuals that want to pursue jobs overseas. For example, anyone convicted of a DUI cannot enter Canada unless a long time has passed since the DUI or they apply for an exemption.

6. Effect on employment

Having a DUI can make finding or holding a job difficult. This is because driving licenses are revoked when an individual is convicted of DUI, meaning that for individuals that commute to work or whose work requires driving, a DUI can be costly in terms of loss of employment. It limits employment possibilities to a smaller area or requires the use of public transportation to get to work and many employers look quite unfavorably about DUI convictions. It could literally cost you a new opportunity or your present employment.

7. Ignition interlock

In a lot of states, one of the consequences of DUI is the ignition interlock. This is essentially a breathalyzer that becomes integrated with the vehicle and the car can only be started once the driver breathes into the device. Furthermore, installing the ignition interlock can cost as much as $3,000, without even taking account the cost of maintenance.

8. Getting a new license

Reinstating a new license after a DUI will require an SR-22, which is a vehicle liability insurance form. The SR-22 insurance is an added cost so it’s important you find the right insurance company, one specialized on non-standard insurance needs. The SR-22 can be required for up to 5 years for a DUI offense.

Getting a DUI may not be the end of the world, but it is important to be realistic about the costs associated with the DUI. This article has analyzed most of the financial costs associated with the DUI and how it can affect individuals down the road. Hopefully it has been informative and useful in understanding the consequences of a DUI on an individual’s personal finances.


Faced your own demons in a DUI conviction? Narrowly missed out on being convicted? Know someone who has? Leave a comment and don’t forget to share!


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