Utah DUI Expenses: What will it really cost you?

It’s easy to think that if you get a DUI, all you have to do is pay the fines and you’re off the hook. Not so. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In this article, we’ll take a look at the real costs of being caught driving under the influence in Utah, both in money, time, and stress. That bottle of wine or fifth of vodka that you only paid a few bucks for at the liquor store could end up costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, and that’s just the financial side.

There are two types of monetary expenses when you get a DUI – one of them is all the costs that are directly associated with your arrest. These can include fines, legal costs, court costs, towing/impound fees, etc. The second type of expenses are those that show up later, such as increased insurance premiums, loss of income, the need to pay for transportation, etc.

Other related expenses aren’t strictly financial. These include loss of relationships – both friendships and romantic connections, the cost to your health from the high stress that a DUI conviction brings, the cost to your reputation for being a convicted criminal…these costs are harder to quantify but are just as brutal.

Let’s look closer at the specific costs related to a DUI arrest.

Costs Directly Related to a DUI Arrest

The costs associated with a DUI arrest and conviction add up extremely fast due to the various fines and penalties involved. These fines and penalties differ from case to case, but a very rough estimate is provided below:

  • Court Costs – A standard DUI in the State of Utah is a Class B misdemeanor. This means that a first time offense carries a carries  a combined maximum fine plus surcharge of $1940.00. The court can suspend as a condition of probation up to $520. So, at the absolute minimum, you will pay a fine and surcharge, for a total of $1420.
  • Impound Fees – When you were pulled over and arrested for DUI, your car was likely towed and impounded. You will have to pay the towing and impound fees which can vary with the place of impound. You will also have to pay the State of Utah $400 as a DUI impound release fee. So, with the towing and impound fees, plus taxes, it will cost you anywhere from $400 to $1000 to get your car back.
  • Attorney Costs – You may choose to represent yourself or take your chances with a public defense lawyer, but only if your lack of income allows you to qualify for their services. These, however, are fraught with risk, because of the immense burdens placed on public defenders. We recommend hiring a Utah DUI attorney who is well-versed in the law and procedures involved in a Utah DUI arrest. The fees paid to your attorney will range from $1000 up to $10000 or more, depending on the lawyer’s experience and how complicated the case is.
  • Alcohol Treatment and DUI School –  A first offense in the state of Utah still requires you to enroll in a drug or alcohol treatment program. You will pay for the cost for this treatment, which will run you several hundred dollars.
  • Driver’s License Fees – First, your license can be suspended, even if not convicted. After you have completed the time period for suspension, you will pay at least $275 to reinstate your driver’s license. You may also need to pay for an IID (Ignition Interlock Device) that will require you to take and pass a breathalyzer test before your key will turn in your ignition and your car will start. The cost for this device runs around $100 for installation, and you’ll pay a monthly rental fee of right around $75-100. So, over the course of 18 months you can expect to pay over $1400.

As you can see, the fees and costs add up quickly to enormous amounts. You can have some of these costs reduced or eliminated, but only if you succeed in getting your charges reduced in court. This is another reason why it is so vitally important to employ the services of a qualified and experienced DUI attorney.

Costs Secondary to a DUI Arrest

While there are lots of fees involved in the actual arrest and court proceedings, many of the fees related to a DUI come later, and can surprise you when they appear. Let’s take a look at a few of these possible secondary costs, and what you can expect to pay for them.

  • Auto Insurance Increase – Your car insurance is going to go up. Way, way up. Because after a DUI conviction, even if you’re  a first time offender, you’re now considered a high risk to your insurance company. This is going to affect the cost of your insurance, You can expect to see a significant price increase in the amount of your monthly premiums. Furthermore, your insurance company may decide to cancel your policy altogether and not cover you any longer. If this happens, you’ll need to find an insurance company that will cover you as a high risk driver.
  • Income Losses – Days off work for court and attorney meetings are going to be frequent as you navigate the justice system. This may cost you your job, and good luck finding another one if you can’t drive to get there. You’ll be labeled as a drunk driver, and will have to report this conviction on any job application you fill out.
  • Stress and Health – The stress you’ll be subject to while going through all of this is going to take a toll on your life. It will affect your relationships – romantic, personal, and professional – and it’s going to affect your health in the long run. You’ll be under extreme pressure financially, and emotionally.

As you can see, the costs involved in a DUI arrest in the state of Utah are expensive. After all is said and done, it’s nothing to pay $10,000 for a first offense. And this is only if you were not involved in an accident that resulted in property damage and personal injury, or loss of life. If you were, the costs,  personal, emotional and financial, simply keep going up.