With the holiday season come the holiday parties. As with most social gatherings, alcohol is part of the festivities.
Most people partake in moderation, or think they do. Studies show the average person will have a blood alcohol level above the .08 legal limit by consuming just two beers or two mixed drinks in an hour. The body then takes approximately an hour to metabolize one ounce of alcohol, which is the amount found in one beer or one mixed drink. The average person who drinks two beers or two mixed drinks in an hour has to wait an hour before he or she gets back under the .08 legal limit and is able to drive a vehicle.
Unfortunately, many people do not wait and find themselves facing a driving under the influence, or DUI, charge. Those who have not gone through the process of a DUI charge probably do not know the actual costs associated with a DUI. The breakdown of fines and fees follows:
Costs for a DUI over .08 Blood Alcohol Content — Standard DUI:
Fine and State Fees: $1,665.00
Court fees: $36.60
Time payment fee: $40.00
Mandatory one day in jail: $224.00
Alcohol screening/counseling fees: $300.00
Mandatory ignition interlock: $522.48 @ $87.08 per month/6 month minimum.
Interlock installation: $50.00
Interlock removal: $75.00
Three years of increased insurance costs: $9,288.00 (Estimated 3 times the normal cost)
These costs drastically rise for a DUI with higher blood alcohol levels. Just the fine for a DUI over .15 BAC but less than .20 BAC is $2,915.00 with a mandatory 30 days in jail. The fine for a DUI over .20 BAC is $3,203.00 and 45 days in jail. Another non-tangible cost is the minimum 90 day driver’s license suspension.
Some drivers may think, “That’s no problem, I’ll just get a lawyer.” A cost check for a lawyer in the Sierra Vista area is $3,500 to $5,000 retainer’s fee.
Additional costs are added based on how much time the attorney has to spend on the case, and there is no guarantee of a “not guilty” verdict at the end of a trial.
Based on the numbers, it is more affordable to pay $5-$10 for a taxi for safe arrival home than pay the cost associated with a DUI. It will also help keep the individual and community safe.
The Southeastern Arizona DUI Task Force is scheduled to be out making DUI arrests Dec. 26 – 31.