A DUI Conviction Can Carry Serious Costs
A conviction for driving under the influence, whether of alcohol or a controlled substance, carries significant costs, monetary and otherwise. Just to start, Pennsylvania mandates a minimum $300 fine for a DUI conviction, with a maximum of $500 as long as your blood-alcohol content (BAC) is below 0.10 percent. Even for first-time offenders, the fines go up from there if your BAC is higher, from $500 to $5,000 for a BAC between 0.10 percent and 0.159 percent up to $1,000 to $5,000 for a BAC of more than 0.16 percent.
These are just the fines. Court fees can range from $150 to more than $1,000. Probation fees can add another $35 per month at a minimum for at least six months, and it can cost as much as $88 to restore your license. Furthermore, the court may order first-time offenders to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School, at a cost of between $200 and $1,000. Depending upon your BAC, your court costs for a first-time DUI conviction could exceed $5,600. And that doesn’t include attorney’s fees.
A New State Law Adds to Those Costs
A new state law that went into effect in August will add to those costs. For first-time DUI convictions, a driver with a BAC of 0.10 percent or more must install an ignition interlock system for at least a year. This system, which prevents a driver from starting a vehicle with a BAC above a certain level, costs about $100 per month, plus the cost of installation.
The new law, called Act 33 of 2016, requires any driver pulled over with a BAC of at least .10, or who refuses to be tested for alcohol, to install an ignition interlock system. The costs of this system run from $900 to $1,300 per year, and you also must have a driver’s license that identifies you as a DUI offender.
The Costs Imposed by the State Are Not the Only Costs to Consider
In addition to the costs outlined above, consider the secondary costs. For instance, your insurance premiums are likely to rise after you get a DUI conviction. These premium hikes can account for thousands a year.
In addition, you could sustain unpredictable costs—if, for example, you lose your job, lose working hours traveling to DUI school or probation appointments, or incur other such opportunity costs. Bankrate estimates that a single DUI without property damage can still cost about $20,000, after all is said and done.
If You Were Charged With DUI in the Philadelphia Area, Contact the Criminal Defense Attorneys of the Skinner Law Firm
If you were charged with DUI in the Philadelphia area, one of the first steps you should take is to consult a criminal defense attorney to explore your options. The costs of a conviction likely will far outweigh the costs of competent legal representation. Furthermore, competent legal representation can help you avoid the worst consequences of a DUI charge. The attorneys at The Skinner Law Firm can help. We are experienced in DUI and other criminal law matters. You can reach us at (610) 436-1410 or through our online contact form.