Being arrested for a West Palm Beach DUI on the Fourth of July is almost certain to cost you more than your independence.
With the Fourth being on a Thursday this year, we expect many people will take an extra-long weekend to relax and celebrate. But amid barbeques and parades and fireworks, there are almost undoubtedly going to be a glut of sobriety checkpoints. There always are throughout the holiday, along with something known as “wolf pack patrols.” Officers are paid overtime so that in addition to the regular beat patrols, there are roving patrols searching almost solely for DUI suspects.
A DUI is sometimes viewed as a “minor” crime because, assuming no one was hurt and no property was damaged and it’s your first offense, you’re generally going to be charged with a misdemeanor. But you shouldn’t let the term “misdemeanor” throw you off into thinking that it will have little effect on you.
First, there is the potential for jail time. Per Florida Statute 316.193, a first-time DUI offense can result in a jail sentence of up to six months. The exception would be if your blood-alcohol content measured at higher than 0.15 percent. In that case, you could serve up to nine months. For a second conviction, it’s a maximum nine month sentence, unless you have a 0.15 percent BAC, in which case it’s a year.
Now, that’s the maximum and not everyone will receive that much. However, the risk is there and it’s one very few people can afford to take without major disruption to their lives, their livelihoods and their families.
Other costs include the cost of mandatory DUI courses or substance abuse treatment.This can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, just depending on the extent of the treatment ordered. In some cases, these obligations will also mean time off work and/or away from family and other activities.
Then there is the cost of the fine. For a first-time conviction, you’re going to pay at least $500, but you could be on the hook for as much as $1,000. For a second conviction, you will shell out a minimum of $1,000, but possibly as much as $2,000. That’s a down payment on a car.
And speaking of your car, a DUI conviction will make driving it that much more expensive. That is, once you get your license and your vehicle back. You can expect your car will be impounded for at least 10 days, for which you will have to cover the cost.
With a first-time conviction, license revocation will be a minimum of 180 days, and a maximum of up to 1 year. A second conviction within five years of the first will cost you a five-year license revocation, though you may be eligible for a hardship reinstatement after 12 months.
A recent analysis by Insurance.com found that insurance premiums can spike by as much as 20 percent following a DUI conviction. Rates can fluctuate depending on where you live and who has your insurance policy. In general, with a DUI conviction on your record, you can expect to pay an extra $2,500 annually for car insurance for the next several years.
Additionally, you have the cost of an ignition interlock device, if this is your second or subsequent offense, at which point it’s mandatory. Installation is going to cost anywhere form $100 to $200 up front. Then on top of that, you’re expected to pay a monthly rental fee of anywhere from $70 to $100. Plus, you may be asked to cover routine maintenance and calibration costs, which will be extra.
People often gripe about the cost of a criminal defense lawyer in DUI cases. But when you start to add up all these other costs, hiring a good attorney clearly makes good sense. We work to help minimize the chances of a conviction in the first place. From the very first stages, we can help you get your vehicle out of impound sooner, we can help request a bond reduction if it’s too high, we can negotiate lower court costs, fines, community service hours, probation and jail time.
If you are arrested for a West Palm Beach DUI, contact the Law Offices of Leifert & Leifert, a Partnership of Former Prosecutors, for a free consultation to discuss your rights. Call 1.888.5.DEFEND.
The extremely high cost of a DUI, May 28, 2013, By Craig Donofrio, MSN Money
More Blog Entries:
Palm Beach DUI May Prove Costly for Spring Breakers, March 15, 2013, West Palm Beach DUI Lawyer Blog