Interviewer: What would you estimate is the total cost of a DUI if you were to try to assign a monetary figure to it? Is the cost due to the fines and the time going to court and jail and not being able to work and drive?
The State of Utah Will Rarely Issue a Provisional License
Court: For a first-time DUI, the biggest problem that people have financially is the driver’s license suspension. It really causes a problem with getting to work. For four months most people are just unable to get to work if they don’t have a car. Utah is kind of harsh in that they don’t usually offer work permits.
There are provisions where you can get a limited driver’s license if you have a driver’s license suspension but they are very difficult to obtain. There are tough standards that you have to meet and it’s really quite a bit harder to get one of those in Utah than it is in other states.
For the most part, if you get a DUI you’re looking at the 120-day driver’s license suspension. If you’ve got a job where you can’t get to the job without a car, for example, you work late at night or you’re not on a bus route, that might cost you $10,000 just in wages alone right there.
Your Costs Include Fines, Ignition Interlock Installation and Maintenance, Plus Rising Car Insurance Rates
Aside from that, you’re looking at $1,370 in fines. With all the screenings and treatment assessments and probation costs if you have any of those ordered, that’s going to be another $2,000. Then the ignition Interlock installation is going to cost you around maybe $150 to $200. After the installation, you pay maybe about $100 a month for 18 months to maintain that device.
So you’re looking at close to $2,000 for that. That’s about $4,000 or $5,000 there on top of just the regular fine. Then, you have car insurance costs that are going to go up. The kind of hard line number that people throw around is it costs you $10,000 even if it’s just your first DUI. I think that is probably pretty close to accurate.
Will It Pay to Hire An Attorney?
Interviewer: To me, it sounds like a lot of attorneys would charge in the range of $2,000 to $4,000 for a DUI, so ballpark, if you hired an attorney there is a possibility they could get your charges reduced. There’s no guarantee, but it’s certainly a possibility they can get things reduced or possibly dismissed. So you can either guarantee yourself $10,000 worth of headache and time or hire someone that’s skilled in criminal defense and possibly mitigate that at one-fifth or one-fourth the cost.
Court: Certainly. It seems like a lot of money to hire an attorney, but there’s a reason that DUI attorneys are around. They’re successful because at the end of the day they offer a service that’s valuable to you. If you just go into court and you just throw your hands up and plead guilty to a DUI, you’re looking at $10,000.
A DUI attorney can’t and shouldn’t guarantee you any outcome in your case, but, in the vast majority of cases, they’re at least able to reduce the charges in some manner that is really a lot more feasible for you.
For instance, if you were to get the charge reduced down from a DUI to an impaired or reckless driving, you’re still going to pay a fine, but you’re not going to have to pay for all the treatment. You’re not going to have to pay for the ignition Interlock, and you’re not going to have the car insurance consequences. You might be paying a fine and the attorney’s fee, but at the end of the day maybe that comes out to $3,000 to $5,000 instead of $10,000.