No matter how financially stable you may be, chances are that you don’t have thousands of dollars you would be willing to throw away for no good reason. However, the consequences of a drunk driving conviction can often seem like just that. While you likely understand that even a first-offense DWI may include a fine and court costs, often the true cost of a drunk driving conviction can catch drivers off guard.
In fact, the cost of a criminal conviction can go well beyond the financial impact. Many who face the severe penalties Minnesota imposes on convicted drunk drivers agree that the repercussions can touch many areas of your life and follow you for years to come.
What can I expect to pay?
Because as many as 800 people a day nationwide suffer injuries, and nearly 30 lose their lives each day in DWI accidents, most states are willing to take stern measures to prevent such accidents. This includes establishing rigid laws and imposing harsh penalties that will hopefully serve as a deterrent to those who may get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol. Fines, for example, can reach thousands of dollars, depending on your circumstances. However, you should also prepare for the following expenses:
- Bail to obtain release from jail until your trial
- Hundreds for jail fees and sentencing fees
- Fees to cover your probationary period
- Expenses related to any community service activities the court assigns you
- The cost of any drug or alcohol screenings the court orders
- The cost of installation and monthly maintenance if the court orders you to have an ignition interlock in your vehicle
- The hike in your car insurance premiums
- Fees for the reinstatement of your driver’s license after your suspension period ends
Of course, if you are unable to drive because your license is under suspension, you may have to spend money on transportation to and from work, shopping and other errands. These and other expenses may total tens of thousands of dollars, which may be even more of a challenge if a DWI conviction results in the loss of your job or prevents you from finding employment.
Protecting your future
The total cost of a drunk driving conviction may seem shocking to you, especially if the evidence against you is questionable. Often a breath test or roadside sobriety test does not tell the whole story. With so much at stake, you may wish to consider obtaining solid legal representation that may assist you in minimizing the financial and personal damage a DWI arrest may carry.