A DWI conviction can lead to the usual suspects of penalties: incarceration, stiff fines, restitution, loss of driver’s license and community service. These represent the surface costs stemming from a mistake you wish you had avoided.
However, there are a number of hidden costs from a DWI conviction that will surface. These unexpected costs range from a tainted personal reputation to those tied with rehabilitation programs.
Higher insurance rates
Here is a list of some of the hidden costs related to a DWI conviction:
- Lost income: Jail time means time away from work. If you do not work, you are not earning any money. Your paycheck will shrink.
- A tainted reputation: This envelops both your professional and personal lives. Your employer may suspend you or even fire you. In addition, employment opportunities may disappear. Your personal life may take a hit, too, within the community as well as among family and friends.
- Installation of an ignition interlock device: This breath testing device must be installed in your vehicle if you want to continue driving. It tests a driver’s breath, allowing the car to start only if it finds no trace of alcohol. Costs include those for installing and leasing the device.
- Higher rates for auto insurance: It is a strong possibility that your insurance rate will double because your carrier now considers you a driving risk. These high rates likely are on par with the rates you paid while a young driver in your teens and early 20s.
- Costs related to a rehabilitation program: The judge could order you to enroll in a rehabilitation program to address your alcohol abuse. Your employer may have a say in this as well.
You must look beyond the surface for financial costs from a DWI conviction. There may be many.
Help for your dilemma
A DWI arrest likely provides a dilemma that you have never faced. You do not want the arrest to lead to a conviction. Seek legal help in an attempt to get this charge reduced or dismissed.