What Can Going to Trial Add to the Total Cost of a DUI?
Interviewer: What about when it comes to jury trials? What’s the cost of accepting a deal versus pursuing a trial?
Steve Tomeo: Well, the expenses that I just gave you didn’t even include a trial. That was first offense non-aggravated DUI with low blood alcohol concentration levels.
It May Cost $15,000 or more to Defend a DUI Charge in Court
I think it’s fair to say that the additional cost of a jury trial in Connecticut could run anywhere from $5,000 up. I would think that the average cost of a jury trial, where you have expert witnesses and attorneys that know what they are doing, doing the trial DUI, lawyers that have an emphasis of their practice on DUI law, could cost $10,000, and that would depend upon the degree of difficulty of the case. That wouldn’t even include what would the expert witnesses cost. I think a jury trial could easily, in most instances, at least double the cost of the out-of-pocket expenses and probably maybe triple the cost of the out-of-pocket expenses.
It May Cost More than $5,000 If You Are Utilizing Expert Witnesses
Interviewer: When you’re talking about expert witnesses, what are we looking at there?
Steve Tomeo: I would say the cost for top-notch expert witnesses for a day’s testimony, including all their travel expenses and hotel expenses and preparation time, you’re probably looking at $5,000 or more. It depends upon the witnesses that you have. You want people that have testified generally in a variety of courts that are nationally recognized in their field, that have been declared expert in their field in the courts that they’ve testified in. You want to make sure that they’ve published routinely in their field of expertise, that they’ve written books and have been part of empirical studies, research. It is important to find an individual that is somewhat of a master of their craft. If anybody knows it, they know it.
With Multiple DUIs, the Costs Increase Exponentially
Interviewer: For second and third-time DUIs, how much do costs increase? You said they increase exponentially. Are they likely to double or to triple?
Steve Tomeo: The minimum fine on a first offense DUI is $500. On a second offense DUI is $2,000, and on a third offense DUI is $4,000, the minimum fine. In Connecticut, if you’re found guilty of a third offense, it’s an indefinite suspension but the statute lets you apply for reinstatement after two years. But you have to go through an involved process at the Department of Motors Vehicles and you have to go through a DMV hearing in front of the Hearing Officer.
Interviewer: Can the court set up a payment plan for some of these fees?
Steve Tomeo: No, generally not.
Interviewer: What are the fees that have to be paid immediately and in full? The Judge Has Discretion in Ordering Whether or Not You Must Pay the Associated Fines and Fees for a DUI Immediately; the Only Time They Are Likely to Be Waived Is If You Are Going to Jail.
Steve Tomeo: Unless the judge determines otherwise, the fees that have to be paid are your court fine, your fees, which could include the various fees that the court’s assessed, inclusive of probation fees, and any other court costs, all of which are statutory. Judges can order that you do not to have to pay them; but a lot of times if you’re going into jail, the court will waive payment on the fees, the fines and other costs.