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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

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Steven A. Tomeo & Associates, LLC

Interviewer: What does a DUI cost?

The National Average Cost of a First Offense Low Blood-alcohol DUI Charge is Approximately $12,500

Steve Tomeo: If you’re looking for strictly out-of-pocket expenses, I think those costs vary from state to state. I know there’s an Attorney Marketing Association report that claims that the national average total cost of a DUI, first offense, and non-aggravated charge with low blood alcohol concentration scores average out around a little more than $12,500. This amount has probably changed, and it is not that hard to make the calculation for your case.

Felony DUI Charges Increase the Expense of Defending a DUI Charge Significantly

If the DUI is a felony DUI, then there are a lot of additional costs. Let’s take the out-of-pocket expenses, the hard dollar costs for the average DUI in America. I would say that there are some states that the cost is prohibitive so that they really increase the average cost, whereas in some states the out-of-pocket expenses are not that much.

For sake of argument, let’s take a rounded average of $10,000 and see how they can come up with something in that area or the average of $12,771 that the Attorney Marketing Association comes up with.

The Costs Associated with a DUI Can Vary from State to State; Costs in the Northeast and West Coast Regions Are Typically Higher than Other Areas

Oftentimes, I’m reluctant to get into these facts because of the very wide differences that occur from state to state. I would think that when you’re in the northeast and in the Atlantic states it would be more.

If you’re out in California it could be expensive. If you’re in New Jersey, it’s very expensive. I think everybody could agree on it, that it generally costs a bundle.

Some States Impound the Driver’s Vehicle After a DUI Arrest

When a person is arrested for a DUI, the first thing that generally happens to them is his vehicle is towed, as a general rule, to an impound yard. The national average on that initial vehicle tow and impound is in the $250 area.

Then when you get arrested, a lot of times there’s a Promise to Appear, so the police department sets a bond for you or they’ll let you go until your court date if you just sign a paper saying that you promise to appear in court. They might say there’s a $2,500 Promise to Appear, which doesn’t cost you any money out of pocket.

In Connecticut, Out-of-State Drivers Will Have to Pay a Portion of the Bond to Be Released after a DUI Arrest

However, if you were an out-of-state driver in the state of Connecticut, they might want a cash bond of $2,500, which means that you call in a bail bondsman. They charge you a 10% bond fee, which is $250.

You do not get that $250 back, but if you put the $2,500 cash up, if you had those resources and put $2,500 in cash up, you’d get that money back when your case is over with, provided you attend all your court sessions.

Interviewer: Is a $2,500 Promise to Appear in lieu of a cash bond?

Steve Tomeo: That would be in lieu of cash.

Interviewer: But if you’re from out of state, you do have to pay cash or go through a bail bond service, bail bondsman, which they usually charge what, about 10%?

Steve Tomeo: Yes. That would be $250. So you’re at the police station, where they arrested you and took you and booked you and gave you the breath test or the blood test or the urine test, and suspended your license for 24 hours.

How do you get home? Do you take a cab or do you have to call somebody and pay for their gas? When you think about transportation, say you have a friend pick you up and the friend doesn’t charge you anything but really there are costs.

If Your License Is Suspended by the DMV Following a DUI Charge, You Will Have to Pay a Fee to Have It Restored

There’s wear and tear on the car. There’s the cost of gas. There’s oil. Then if you lose your Department of Motor Vehicle hearing and you draw a suspension, you have to pay a restoration fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get your license restored, and the national average on that is $110, but in Connecticut its $175.

Following a DUI Conviction, the Driver Is Responsible for Court Fees, Fines and Probation Costs

Then if you get a conviction in court and it’s a first offense, there are court fees, and fines. There are probation costs. On a first offense in Connecticut the minimum fine is $500 and there are other fees and costs which bring it to a total of $798, and that’s against an average throughout the United States of court fees, fines and penalties, amounting to $1,250.

Some states, you get a court-imposed fine but there are also certain penalties that they assess against you that you have to pay each year for a certain number of years.

Some States Will Assess a Fine for a Guilty Plea to a DUI Charge

In some states, they charge you a fee when you plead guilty, which is $250.

In Addition to a License Suspension, Connecticut May Require the Installation of an Ignition Interlock Device on Every Car You Drive

Now, if you lose your license on a first offense in the state of Connecticut, you’ll get a 45-day suspension, and then for one year you have to drive with what they call an ignition interlock device. This device is installed on any car that you operate.

If you’re 45 days without a license and you’re unable to get a work permit, you have to pay somebody to drive you back and forth to work for the weeks that you can’t drive.

I think if you used for a rental car, to hire somebody to do it because you couldn’t drive yourself, you’re probably talking 10 to $20 a day there for the 45 days. But the ignition interlock device may cost you somewhere in the area of $75 to $150 to get it installed and then another $100 per month for the next 12 months while you’re driving with it. That’s a direct expense.

Most People Will Have the Cost of Their Insurance Premiums Increased Following a DUI Charge

The vast majority of people have their insurance premiums increased. If you are a first offender DUI person in Connecticut, you have, as a general rule, been through the alcohol education program in the state of Connecticut. Even though this is considered your first criminal offense, it’s the second time you’ve been arrested for a DUI.

You May Pay an Additional $4000 in Insurance Premiums Over 3 Years

I think it’s fair to say that your insurance premium could be boosted another 100 to 120 dollars a month for the next three years as against the national three-year average of $116 a month. So there you’re talking a little bit over $4,000 in increased insurance premiums.

Commercial Drivers’ License Holders Face Severe Consequences Including a Possible Lifetime Revocation for Multiple DUI Offenses

Then a person that gets a first-offense DUI gets a conviction, if he has a CDL license and this is the first time that he’s had anything go against his CDL license by way of a drunk-driving charge, he loses his CDL license for one year.

The second DUI results in a lifetime revocation. So he loses it for one year. If he can get his job back, that would be great. In that one year that he’s lost his license, he’s lost the ability to generate between 50,000 and $100,000 in income that a CDL-licensed driver would probably earn. It’s a lot of money.

Just think; some of us have represented people that work for large companies who supply them with a vehicle. Sometimes they are on-the-road salesmen. If you are a pharmaceutical salesman, you hear routinely that pharmaceutical sales people could make $150,000. But they’ve got so many people that are highly qualified applying for those jobs, they do not need you. You’re out. You’re out of a job.

Employees That Must Use Company-Supplied Vehicles Can Face Termination and Loss of Salary

It’s amazing, the cost, the hard-dollar cost, and what will that cost you over a 10-year period or a 20-year period? I mean, if you lose your CDL license for one year and you lose your job as a CDL driver, at the end of one year are you going to be able to go to a company and get a similar type job?

Will that tractor trailer company say, “Oh, you had a drunk-driving charge a year ago? Oh, that’s okay.” I do not think they operate like that anymore. I think you have to have some pretty good credentials and some pretty good factors in your favor to get a job like that back after you’ve already had a conviction for a drunk driving.

What do you think the insurance company is going to do? Boom, probably within the first two to three months they are going to do a random audit of his driver’s license, and what’s going to show up? It’s going to show up that he had a DUI a year ago.

Looking for New Employment Will Be Difficult for Commercial Drivers Due to Higher Insurance Premiums

What do you think the insurance company is likely to say? The insurance company is likely to say, if you want this guy to drive for you, that’s fine, but instead of it costing you $5,000 a year for his liability insurance premium on him, we’ve got to charge you $10,000.

The likelihood is that the employer is going to have to pay more. What’s the employer going to say? The employer is going to say, “I do not think so. I just do not think that that’s going to be doable.”

I think it puts that person who probably had the ability to make $100,000 a year as a tractor trailer driver, maybe he comes and works closer to home in a local factory if he can get a job, and where does he have to start out with there? Is he going to start off at $25 an hour? No.

In rural Connecticut, you’re going to be looking at $12 or $13 an hour, maybe $15 an hour if you’re lucky. I bet you won’t even start off at $15 an hour at a new job, even in these new defense industry plants.

What about if you get a job in a hotel or as a short-order cook for these big companies, like these big hotel chains? They do not pay you that kind of money. You start off at minimum wage jobs.

You have lost income probably for a number of years as a result of that criminal conviction.

More information

STEVEN TOMEO, ESQ.

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