When facing a DUI charge in Pennsylvania, the legal repercussions often take center stage. However, the financial burden that follows can be equally overwhelming.
This blog post breaks down the various costs associated with a DUI conviction in the Keystone State.
Immediate financial penalties
Upon conviction, DUI offenders are subject to a range of fines that depend on their blood alcohol content (BAC) level and prior offenses. Even a first-time conviction can lead to different fines depending on the driver’s intoxication levels. For instance:
- General impairment (.08% to .099% BAC), first offense: A conviction leads to $300 in fines.
- High rate of BAC (.10% to .159% BAC), first offense: Up to $5,000 in fines.
- Highest BAC (.16% BAC and above) or controlled substance-induced intoxication, first offense: Up to $5,000 in fines.
Prior DUI offenses will also lead to enhanced fines for the latest conviction.
Legal and administrative fees
On top of the fines imposed by a court, a convicted driver will also have to deal with the following expenses:
- Court costs: These mandatory fees can add hundreds of dollars to your total.
- Bail: If you’re held in custody, you may need to post bail, which can vary widely.
- License reinstatement: While not an immediate concern following a DUI conviction, drivers looking to restore their suspended driving privileges will have to pay a fee to reinstate their license – but only after the suspension period ends.
These costs can quickly add up and overwhelm drivers with limited finances.
There are other indirect financial losses you can suffer following a DUI. These include:
- Increased insurance premiums: After a DUI, insurers see you as a high-risk driver, often leading to a significant hike in your auto insurance rates.
- Ignition interlock devices: As part of the license reinstatement process, a court can order you to install and maintain an ignition interlock device. These devices aren’t cheap, because you have to pay to rent them.
- Loss of employment: A conviction may result in job loss, especially if your role requires driving.
The total cost of a DUI in Pennsylvania can easily climb into the tens of thousands of dollars when considering fines, fees, and indirect expenses like increased insurance rates and potential job loss. Understanding these costs underscores the importance of safe, responsible driving and the value of seeking legal counsel if you find yourself facing DUI charges.