A DWI can ultimately cost you far more than the initial fines. You could have to go to a treatment program, pay more for auto insurance, even temporarily (or permanently) lose your driver’s license. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is very serious, and very dangerous. Understanding the penalties and costs of a DWI may help to keep you from getting behind the wheel while impaired.
A driver’s blood-alcohol content, or BAC, is used to determine if they are legally too impaired to operate a motor vehicle. These levels of intoxication can be determined by a blood test, or more commonly, a breath gas analysis, or ‘breathalyzer,' test.
If you are driving a personal vehicle with a BAC of 0.08%, or a commercial vehicle with a BAC of 0.04%, you may be found to be under the influence.
There are a lot of myths out there about how much alcohol you can drink before becoming impaired. Many factors can affect this, though, so don’t assume anything. Your BAC can be affected by your metabolism, body fat content, how fast you drink, or if you eat before or while you drink. Also your age or if you are taking any medications can change your level of impairment. So, be careful!
First of all, you will face many fines and fees if charged with a DWI. Court costs and fines can total in the hundreds, even thousands of dollars. You can also face costs associated with towing and impound fees, license suspension, driver training, drug and alcohol treatment programs, not to mention bail and attorney fees.
Higher Insurance Rates
Getting a DWI on your driving record will drastically increase your car insurance premiums, once your license is reinstated.
Many DWI convictions require a driver to purchase “high-risk insurance.” This may cause your insurance provider to cancel your policy, as not all companies offer high-risk coverage. The lapse in coverage can also increase the cost.
High-risk drivers are often unable to obtain insurance on the open market, resulting in the need to apply through the state’s automobile insurance plan, which is even more expensive!
DWI charges often carry mandatory jail sentences, even for first offenders. In many states, these can result in a felony conviction depending on how high your BAC was, if you have had multiple offenses, or if there was a personal injury or death as a result of your DWI.
If you lose you license due to a DWI, you will have to show proof of financial responsibility before you can get it reinstated. An SR-22 will do just that.
SR-22 insurance proves that you will maintain at least the state’s minimum requirement of car insurance for a specified amount of time. The typical term is three years or the length of probation the court sentenced you to, whichever is greater. If you commit another violation before the time expires, the time limit may be extended.