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A DUI in Pennsylvania Could Cost $10k

Screen Shot 2016-03-18 at 6.58.09 PMThe York County organization Center for Traffic Safety recently determined that the cost of the average DUI arrest totals a whopping $10,000. The organization cited this figure while admonishing St. Patrick’s Day celebrants not to drive inebriated, as well as to put drivers on notice of the existence of numerous DUI checkpoints and roaming DUI patrols.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), from 2010 to 2014 nearly two out ofthree traffic fatalities between between midnight and 6am on St. Patrick’s Day occurred in drunk driving crashes. During these same years, the rate of drunk driving arrests on St. Patrick’s Day was 7% higher than the national drunk driving rate. During this period on St. Patrick’s Day, over half of men aged 21-34 who died from injuries associated with car crashes were killed in drunk driving incidents.

The Pennsylvania DUI Association, a Harrisburg non-profit working to eradicate drunk driving, calculated the $10,000 figure. A drug recognition expert within the association indicated that the figure is an estimate, but provided a supplemental cost break-down:

  1. Fines: $500-$10,000. (Fines vary depending on blood-alcohol level and whether it was the defendant’s first offense or a subsequent offense.)
  2. Bail: $150-$2,500
  3. Legal Fees: $800-$8,000
  4. Towing: $100-$1,200
  5. Insurance: $1,500 each year for 5-8 years as a “high-risk driver”
  6. Drug and alcohol abuse testing: $250
  7. Treatment: $150-$2,000
  8. Monitoring bracelet: $400 per month
  9. Ignition Interlock: $1,200 to $2,000 a year (This is mandatory for a second offense.)
  10. Court fees: Vary
  11. Victim compensation fees: Vary

The expert also explained that there are additional costs that are difficult to calculate, including lost wages from potential job loss or difficulty securing subsequent employment. There is also the cost of the accelerated rehabilitation program, for which most first-time offenders are eligible. This probationary program enables an individual to bypass a conviction and later become eligible to have the arrest expunged from his or her record. The program costs $600.

Some attorneys speculate that the $10,000 figure is exaggerated to deter drunk driving. For a first-time offender with a typical case who enrolls in the accelerated rehabilitation program, court costs and associated fines are likely amount to $2,500. Attorney fees could fall between $500 and $2,500. This only totals to a maximum of $5,000.

Law enforcement tasked with DUI arrests tend to mobilize over holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. Over Labor Day Weekend, for example, DUI task forces in Lancaster County and across Pennsylvania participated in the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign through roving patrols and special checkpoints.

Drunk driving isn’t the only type of DUI arrest Pennsylvania sees. Increasingly, police officials are encountering drivers under the influence of a variety of drugs. In proving a driver was under the influence of a drug, the prosecution has a lower burden than proving he was under the influence of alcohol. Thus, defendants charged with drugged driving face a greater chance of being convicted.

According to the NHTSA, each year on average more than 10,000 people die from crashes due to drunk driving. This would equal 20 jumbo jets crashing each year. Moreover, in 2014, an average of one drunk driving fatality occurred every 53 minutes.

Hiring the right attorney can make all the difference in the world.  If you find yourself arrested for a DUI, make sure you have an experienced attorney on your side. Criminal defense attorney Zachary B. Cooper will be aggressive and will fight to make sure not only your rights are protected but that you get the best outcome so you and your family can move on with your lives. Call (215) 542-0800 for a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Pennsylvania Appeals Court Holds Driver’s Arrest Was Supported by Probable Cause, Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer Blog, March 15, 2016.

Arrested For My First DUI, Pennsylvania DUI Lawyer Blog, February 12, 2016.