As a Roswell-Alpharetta DUI Lawyer, I know that when contemplating how much a DUI costs, many people consider court costs, fees, and fines. But the price of a DUI is not confined to these immediate out-of-pocket expenses. The consequence of a DUI conviction in Georgia includes opportunity costs, the time value of money, and even increases in your insurance premium.
Immediate Out of Pocket Expenses
A standard DUI in Georgia is considered to be a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, this $1,000 is a base fine that will be evaluated with each ticket connected to a person's DUI charge. For example, if you are charged with DUI, Reckless Driving, Failure to Maintain Lane, and Speeding, you are facing a fine of up to $4,000 and a term of 48 months in jail. One way that an experienced lawyer can lower the costs associated with a DUI is to limit the number of offenses to which a person pleads guilty.
Until someone is actually fired from a job, they cannot entirely understand the opportunity cost associated with a DUI conviction. In reality, many employers will not hire someone with a DUI charge. There is a perception that receiving a DUI demonstrates a character flaw. However, I do not agree with this line of thinking. A DUI is not a crime of moral turpitude and does not necessarily show poor character.
Additionally, many government certificates may be delayed when a person is convicted of a DUI. It may affect a person's military career and will prevent someone from obtaining top-secret security clearance.
Further, many employers will give their employees a company car. If an employee has a DUI, however, the car will be much more difficult to insure. Most rental car companies will likewise not rent vehicles to those with DUI convictions.
Finally, some countries will not permit people with DUI convictions to travel there. For example, Canada considers DUIs to be a felony and will not allow someone convicted to visit for up to ten years.
Time Value of Money
The basic calculation of a DUI conviction is not encouraging. A busy professional will have to take time to attend court, complete community service, attend DUI classes, and attend court-mandated counseling sessions. This will surely require a great deal of unpaid time.
Consider, for example, having to complete community service. Many places that offer community service hours are businesses that operate during normal business hours. This means that instead of working at your job and making your usual hourly salary, you will be required to skip work to complete your community service hours. This can add up.
If you are considering what a DUI in Georgia will cost you, it is best to instead look for ways to avoid a DUI in the first place. Have a designated driver, take a ride share service, or consume only one or two drinks when you know you will be driving. As a Roswell-Alpharetta DUI Attorney, I know that DUIs are preventable. If you have been arrested for a DUI in Roswell or Alpharetta, call the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson today.