How much is a DUI arrest and conviction going to cost you?
Dollar Cost of DUI
According to the 2017 Illinois DUI Fact Book, the total cost of a DUI conviction can run as high as $18,000. That figure includes fines and court costs; lost wages due to time spent in court, jail, community service, or other court-mandated programs; and the incremental cost of high-risk insurance.
Non-Financial Costs of DUI
Consider, also, the costs that are not so easy to calculate in dollars, such as the stress on you and your family, the loss of leisure time, and the hassle of losing your driving privileges. Even a first-time misdemeanor DUI conviction will remain on your record and cannot be expunged, even if you receive court supervision rather than a conviction. That can cost you job opportunities, admission to some colleges, and scholarships. If you rely on medical cannabis, your medical cannabis card could be revoked.
Mitigating DUI Costs
You can reduce the toll that a DUI arrest takes on you and your family by avoiding these three costly mistakes:
Mistake 1: Admitting Consumption During a Traffic Stop
Suppose you are pulled over by the police for a moving violation like speeding or running a red light. The police officer may develop a suspicion that you are intoxicated and proceed to ask questions like, “How much have you had to drink tonight?” In this situation, it is better to say something like “I prefer not to answer” than to admit that you have been drinking, to reveal how many drinks you had, or to lie about your consumption. In short, do not provide the police with evidence that could be used against you.
Mistake 2: Consenting to a Vehicle Search
During a traffic stop, without probable cause such as seeing or smelling intoxicants, the police do NOT have the legal right to search your vehicle without your permission. If a police officer asks if they may search your vehicle or says something like “Can I have a look in your trunk?” you can simply say, “No, I do not consent to that.” There is no penalty to you if you say no. Furthermore, there is no upside for you in agreeing to a search, as the police will be looking for evidence they can use against you in a DUI charge or that can be used to support additional charges.
Mistake 3: Failing to Immediately Consult a Seasoned DUI Defense Attorney
If you are charged with DUI in Illinois, you actually have two cases to fight: (1) the civil penalty, which is the suspension of your driver’s license, and (2) the criminal DUI charge, which is punishable by fines, community service, and possibly jail time. The sooner you hire a local defense attorney with significant DUI experience, the better you will be able to mitigate the financial and non-financial costs of an arrest and potential conviction.
Protect Your Rights with a Skilled Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyer
At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, we will examine all the details of your case and help you decide the best legal strategy for your defense. To protect your rights, contact a knowledgeable Will County DUI/traffic violations defense attorney at 815-740-4025 for a free and confidential consultation; phone calls are answered 24 hours a day.