Summer is a time for kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying all of the outdoor activities and events going on now that the weather is warm.
Whether you’re grilling in your backyard, attending a music festival, or celebrating one of the many summer holidays, you might decide to have a few drinks to quench your thirst, abate the heat, and get into the summertime groove. As long as you’re over the age of 21, drinking itself isn’t the issue – it’s what you might do after you drink that could potentially have very serious consequences.
What am I talking about? Getting a DUI. Summer is prime time for DUIs in Colorado, and with the season just beginning, the state thought it was a good time to remind everyone exactly how much being convicted can cost you with their No DUI Colorado campaign.
Let’s break it down.
DUIs Cost Time and Money
When most people think of DUIs, they probably think about getting stopped by a police officer, submitting to a field sobriety test or Breathalyzer, and then getting arrested and booked in jail. Beyond getting caught, you might think about losing your license or having to spend more time in jail. This is a pretty common scenario for nabbing drunk drivers.
What most people don’t think about, however, is the actual cost of a DUI in both time and money.
So exactly how expensive is a DUI?
Time Waits for No DUI
As far as time is concerned, No DUI Colorado says “a DUI will cost as much time as having another full-time job, with a minimum of 170 hours spent on dealing with consequences.”
Yes, that’s right. A minimum of 170 hours. That’s more than a month of 40-hour work weeks.
Some of those consequences you might deal with include probation, drug and alcohol therapy, getting an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle, community service, court, and numerous other things that all eat away at your day.
Let’s think about that for a moment.
Not only do you have to work your regular 40-hour-a-week full-time job. If you get a DUI, you will also be spending about the same amount of time dealing with the consequences of that DUI.
Worse, this extra “full-time job” will have to be completed during your free time, which means “free time” is probably going to become a thing of the past for you. It will be all DUI, all the time.
A DUI Can Break the Bank
Just as a DUI requires lots and lots of time, it also requires lots and lots of money.
Previously, the Colorado Department of Transportation estimated that a DUI costs a first-time offender $10,270. That price has now risen to $13,530.
Do you have 13 grand burning a hole in your wallet? If so, do you really want to be spending it on the costs associated with a DUI conviction?
Where exactly is all of that money going?
- Experienced criminal defense attorney: $3,000
- Chemical testing fee: $30-$150 (Yes, you have to pay for your own chemical test.)
- Towing fee: $200
- Court fees: $30
- Jail fee: $10-$50
- Bail fee: $150
- First conviction fine: $600-$1,000
- Alcohol education classes: $150-$1,000
- Probation supervision fee: up to $1,200 (Yes, you have to pay for your own probation.)
- Community service supervision fee: $60
- Ignition interlock device rental: $480-$1,460
- License reinstatement: $100
- Auto insurance increase: $3,000
Those are just a few of the many costs! You also have to pay fees for the victim assistance and victim compensation fund, victim impact panel, law enforcement assistance fund, brain injury fund, car storage, a new license – the list goes on and on.
So what can you do to avoid having to pay for a DUI with both your time and money?
Obviously, the most effective way is to never get behind the wheel of a car after you’ve been drinking. Just don’t do it. There are plenty of alternatives. If you know you’re going to an event, a bar or restaurant, or even a friend’s house and you plan on drinking, also plan to find another way home. Take a cab or a ride-sharing service. Ask a sober friend for a ride. Walk. Or, if you have no other way of getting home, wait it out. In the long run, it’s worth it.
What if you’re already facing a DUI charge? Fight it. Yes, you’ll have to pay for a lawyer, but there are all kinds of ways for a skilled Colorado DUI attorney to beat your charges – or at least get them reduced. Do that and you can avoid many of the costs that are listed above.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012 and 2013 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.