Driving under the influence is a crime. So if the police pull you over while intoxicated, you might end up with a DUI charge. In fact, courts convicted 12,008 peopleย of DUI charges in 2020.

Courts take this charge seriously. Thus, people who encounter drunk-driving charges face penalties.

The most obvious DUI penalty is a free trip to jail. But this isn’t the only consequence. There are several penalties you need to realize.

Keep reading this guide to learn the hidden penalties of DUIs.

DUI law

DUI charges begin when the police pull you over and determine you’re under the influence. They arrest you and bring you to the local jail when this happens.

The jail will require paying bail for your release. As a result, your bail money is the first expense you’ll have. You probably expect that cost, but do you expect to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees?

The first legal expense is the cost of hiring a DUI lawyer. DUI lawyers assist with driving offenses, including DUIs. They can help you get the best outcome for your case, so having one is imperative.

The downside is the costs. You might spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees.

Additionally, you must pay court fees. Courts charge for their services, so they’ll send you a bill to pay.

Towing Fees

Were you driving when the police arrested you? If the answer is yes, there is a good chance the police ordered a tow truck to tow your vehicle.

If the police take you to jail, they can’t leave your vehicle abandoned on the road. So they call towing companies to pick up these vehicles.

The towing company will handle the job. But they will only release your car once you pay the fees.

Alcohol Courses

A common consequence of a DUI conviction is required educational courses. Counseling centers offer alcohol and drug classes, and the court might require that you complete a course.

Unfortunately, you must pay for the course. The amount varies, but these courses typically cost at least $100. In most cases, they cost more.

Courts require these courses to help people learn:

  • Risks of driving under the influence
  • Dangers of drunk driving
  • Consequences of driving under the influence
  • Ways to avoid it
  • Ways to treat your addiction, if applicable

Some alcohol courses are one-day classes. Others might require attending multiple meetings for several weeks or months.

Failing to register and complete a court-ordered course results in further consequences. So if the court tells you to do this, you must comply. You must also complete the course within a specified timeframe.

Suspended Driver’s License

Do you also realize that you’ll lose your driver’s license? When a person gets a DUI, the court instantly suspends their license.

Of course, you can get it reinstated at some point. But it might be months or years later. The amount of time you face a suspended license depends on several things:

What is a dwi vs dui

  • Your criminal record
  • Number of DUIs you’ve had
  • Facts from this DUI
  • Your lawyer

Losing your license is a penalty you might not think about when you drink and drive. But it’s a real consequence you will face.

Loss of Income

Driving under the influence results in going to jail. The jail might let you pay bail money to get out the next day. But what if you don’t have money for your bail?

You might end up in jail for several weeks or months for driving under the influence. One consequence of this is a loss of income. After all, you can’t work if you’re in jail.

You might also lose income even if you’re not in jail. For example, if you don’t have a driver’s license, you might not have a way to get to work. Thus, you might lose income for several months.

You could also lose your job. Your employer might be willing to keep your position for you. But they might replace you if you can’t get to work for months.

Criminal Record That Follows You

Courts label DUIs as felonies or misdemeanors. Of course, a felony is worse than a misdemeanor. But both are bad for your record.

Unfortunately, criminal charges stay on a person’s record permanently. This means that anyone can see these charges during a criminal background check.

You might face problems getting a job with a criminal record. You might also face challenges with other things, including getting an apartment.

Thus, having a criminal record is a penalty for a DUI. However, you can apply for an expungement of the charge. Expungement removes a criminal charge, but it’s not automatic.

First, you must wait a specified timeframe before applying for it. Secondly, you must pay a lawyer to handle the case. Finally, the court must approve it.

Increased Insurance Costs

Insurance companies calculate car insurance rates by risk. A low-risk person pays less than a high-risk person. Having a DUI on your record puts you in the high-risk driver category.

The First DUI Can Be Serious

As a result, your insurance costs increase after a DUI.

In many cases, people charged with DUIs must purchase SR-22 insurance plans. SR-22 insurance costs more than traditional car insurance plans.

But you must purchase SR-22 if the court orders it. The court won’t allow the state to reinstate your driving privileges if you don’t buy a plan.

Avoid a DUI Penalty

The best thing to do to avoid a DUI penalty and hidden costs is to get a designated driver. You take risks of getting a DUI anytime you drive under the influence. If you don’t drive under the influence, you won’t get a DUI.

If you’re facing a DUI charge right now, you’ll need to face the penalties.

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