There are many expenses that are relevant to a DUI charge in Richland, South Carolina. This is one of the first questions that we often get at the Michael Jeffcoat Firm when we are approached by individuals who are facing such charges. This will have a significant effect on your life, and it will impact your wallet in multiple ways, and it can end up costing you thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars. The financial consequences are even worse for a felony DUI.
Today, we’ll look at all of the potential and likely expenses that you’re going to face when charged with a DUI in Richland, South Carolina. Keep in mind that not all of these expenses will have anything to do with whether or not you are actually guilty or whether or not you are found guilty in court. Many of them are going to simply be par for the course when facing a DUI charge, regardless of whether or not you are innocent or the charges are dropped.
The Expense of Bonding Yourself Out of Jail After a DUI Arrest
The very first expense that you will encounter after your arrest is going to be the bond. You’ll have a bond hearing fairly quickly, and the court will either give you a PR bond, which doesn’t cost money, or a Surety Bond, which does. To understand how your bond works, imagine that the court sets the surety bond at $2,000. You can contact a bondsman to put up the money, and you just have to pay about 10%, in most cases. So, you can get out by giving the bondsman $200. The bondman will put up the rest, and when you show up for court, he or she will get their bond back. If you don’t show up, then the bondsman loses all of that money and is motivated to track you down to get it back.
The Expense of Getting Your Vehicle Back After a DUI Arrest
Not all DUI arrests will involve having your vehicle impounded, but many of them will. There are some cases where you may have the opportunity to have someone pick up your vehicle for you, but if your vehicle is impounded, then this will cost money. You will have to pay the towing fee and the daily fee for the period of time in which your vehicle is impounded. Each day that you wait to get your vehicle, the price goes up. If you are quick, then you may be able to get out of this for less than $200. If we imagine, on the far end of expenses, that you must pay the bondsman $200 and the impound $200, then you are already up to $400 at this point, and we’re done yet.
The Expense Associated with Not Taking A Breathalyzer Test When Arrested for a DUI
Legally, you are allowed to refuse to the take the breathalyzer test when you are pulled over and arrested for a DUI. However, if you do, your license will be suspended automatically. If you want to file an implied consent hearing to get your license back, that will cost $200. If you want to get a Temporary Alcohol License in the meantime, then this will cost $100. If you do get your license back, then this will also cost $100. The same is true if you do agree to take the breathalyzer test but have a reading of .15 or greater. At this point, you’re total from the bond, the impound, and the license issues has risen to $800.
The Expense of an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program with a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of a DUI charge in Richland, South Carolina, or if you are unsuccessful with your implied consent hearing, then you may be required to enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, which you must successfully complete to avoid further consequences. Unfortunately, this also costs money, and is likely more expensive than you’d expect. Most people will end up paying roughly $500 to enroll in this program, which brings our running total to $1,300.
The Expenses of Fines and Penalties Associated with DUIs in Richland, South Carolina
The fines and penalties that are associated with your DUI will depend on how your case goes and whether you are able to get the charges reduced. For example, if you plead guilty to reckless driving, you may pay a fine of around $445. If you are convicted of the DUI with the refusal of a breathalyzer test, but don’t go to jail, then your may pay a fine of around $1,000. In cases where you did not refuse the breathalyzer test but had a reading of .10 or more, then the fine will be higher. As a repeat offender, the fine will also be higher. For the second offense, your fine could be at least $2,100 or as much as $5,100. For further offenses, you can expect even heavier fines.
You will also be required to pay for SR-22 Driving Insurance for three years following a DUI conviction. You will then be facing far greater insurance premiums, thought he cost will vary depending on the auto insurance company that you purchase this insurance from. If you imagine that the cost of your auto insurance goes up by $150 per month (for example), then multiply that by three years, you get $5,400. With the increased insurance added to our running total, along with a first time DUI conviction with fines of $1,000, we are currently up to $7,700.
The Expense of Hiring a Richland, South Carolina DUI Defense Attorney
Of course, you’re going to need a Richland, South Carolina DUI defense attorney to ensure that you end up with the best possible outcome and least expense. Up to now, we’ve been adding up the cost using hypothetical, but likely potential costs for everything. Your own expenses could less or more. For instance, you might find better insurance rates than those we mentioned, which could potentially save you thousands. Or you might not be able to find insurance rates as low as we discussed, depending on your own driving record and other factors, so you might be paying thousands more. When it comes to your vehicle, you might be blessed enough to have the opportunity to take care of it without it ending up in impound, saving hundreds of dollars in expenses.
Further, you may be fortunate enough to plead to a lower charger, like reckless driving, and save yourself a further $500. Depending on the bondsman and your specific charges and bond, you may save or lose some money there, too. Thus, when it comes to your legal expenses, it is worthwhile to have a DUI defense attorney there to help you get the best possible outcome, avoid any fines you can, and minimize the consequences that could affect your insurance, your fines, and your job.
It is challenging to say exactly what these expenses will come to, as it could be as low as $3,000 or as high as $10,000, depending on which attorney you choose to work with and what sorts of procedures and tasks are required to help you. Every case is different, and yours might be simple or more complicated. You may not need the most expensive attorney you can get, but you also don’t want to choose an attorney with fees that seem ‘too good to be true.’ Contact a determined Richland, SC DUI defense attorney at the Michael Jeffcoat Firm to discuss the unique details of your case and what your expenses are likely to be.