How much will that DWI cost you? You might not want to look…

Last week the Christian County Headliner ran a very good article about the high costs of a DWI.  The numbers are astounding, but not surprising. DWIs are an easy way for towns and counties to make money, so they take advantage of it.

Below is a list of costs put together by the Headliner.

Bail: $125 to $5,000

  • $125 to $500 in municipal court
  • $2,500 to $5,000 in county court

Towing Cost: $80 to $125 

In my experience, this is low.  In St. Louis, towing rates run between $200 and $300, and that doesn’t even include storage fees.

Legal Fees: $500 to $3,000 or more

  • Misdemeanor: $500 to $2,500
  • Felony: $2,500 to $3,000
  • Trial for either offense: $1,000 or more

Court Costs: $115 to $150

Court costs are typically fairly low.  The administrative costs are where defendants get hammered.

Administrative Fees: $505 to $1,380

  • Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP)
  • Assessment screening to review your driving record: $126
  • Clinical intervention can cost up to $1,005

In St. Louis, DWI offenders also have to do a Victim Impact Panel (VIP),  an Alcohol and Drug Education Program (ADEP), Defensive Driving School, and sometimes even community service.

License Reinstatement Fee: $45

Ignition Interlock Device Fee: $190

Insurance Rate Increases: $5,080 or more over five years

  • Average rate for a male in his mid-30s: $500 for 6 months (which is double the normal rate)
  • SR-22 Insurance: an additional $20 every six months

Effects on Your Personal Life:

  • Lost time from work or loss of your job entirely
  • Possible jail time (7 years in prison if a death is involved)
  • Many professions such as doctors, pilots, lawyers and teachers can lose their certification if convicted

Please note that these costs are based on first-time offenders.  Later offenses can cause some of these costs to sky-rocket.  For example, some lawyers charge much more for subsequent offenses.  They claim it’s because subsequent offenses are harder to defend.  In reality, they’re not.  The only difference is that the penalties for the defendant are harsher.   Don’t let your attorney charge you more just because you’ve had multiple DWIs.