The decision to get behind the wheel after a night of excessive drinking is not a good one. Seeing the flashing lights of a law enforcement officer’s vehicle and being pulled over is enough to jolt your system. How will you explain this to your family? To your employer?
A DUI charge and conviction will have long-lasting effects and personal costs. And those effects and personal costs go well beyond potential incarceration, probation, excessive fines, restitution and loss of a driver’s license. There are many other hidden costs – some of them on the monetary side while others on the more personal level – that can develop and stay with you for a long, long time.
Higher insurance rates, rehab program
Here are some of the hidden costs related to a DUI conviction:
- A tainted reputation: This is on the personal and professional level. Your luster has faded with your spouse and children as well as your friends, neighbors and community members. Losing your job also remains a possibility as your employer may not accept your situation. Job opportunities, too, may disappear.
- Insurance rates skyrocket: Auto insurance companies now view you as a higher risk when driving. Your insurance rates likely will at least double to a cost that you had not seen since you were a teen. Your insurance company also may cancel your policy.
- A shrinking income: A conviction may require you to serve a county jail sentence of several days or several months. While locked up, you cannot work. However, some counties do allow work release.
- Paying for DUI-related safety classes and rehabilitation programs: Alcohol Highway Safety School is usually required for first- and second-time DUI offenders in Pennsylvania. Also, the court may order you to enroll in a substance abuse rehabilitation program. The latter promises daily costs of hundreds of dollars.
- Ignition interlock device costs: Pennsylvania requires the installation of this device in the vehicles of drivers with high blood alcohol levels. Drivers must blow into it prior to starting the vehicle. If it detects alcohol, the device prevents the vehicle from starting. You may have to pay $1,000 or more each year.
Please do not overlook these additional harsh consequences related to a DUI conviction. The hidden costs will surprise you.