For most people, the primary concern following an arrest under suspicion of driving while impaired (DWI) is the risk of jail time. While incarceration is rightly the top priority for most people, it is impossible to understate the potential financial impact a DWI conviction could also have.
In fact, there are costs associated with merely being arrested with DWI. Even if you are ultimately acquitted of the charge, the financial costs you bear could be more than you were prepared for.
Working with a dedicated Minnesota DWI defense attorney could put you in the position to avoid many of the economic costs of a DWI conviction. To learn more about how skilled legal counsel could help, schedule a free consultation with Gerald Miller as soon as possible.
The Average Cost of a DWI
Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine the average financial impact a DWI arrest or conviction can have on a person. Much of this information is not public, and two cases could differ substantially from each other. While it is possible to estimate the maximum amount of fines you could face, many of the hidden costs of a DWI case are much higher than the total amount of fines you could owe. As experienced DWI Defense lawyers, we have considered the potential costs related to a DWI arrest as well as a conviction below.
Costs Related to a DWI Arrest
Some of the costs of a DWI case are entirely unrelated to your conviction or acquittal. These costs are tied to your arrest, and many are entirely unavoidable.
Impound and Towing Costs
When you are pulled over on the side of the road and arrested, law enforcement has a duty to address your vehicle. Unless there is a sober driver available to take the vehicle from the scene, the police will not simply leave your vehicle on the side of the road. Instead, they will tow the car and impound it.
As with many aspects of the court system, you are on the hook for the cost of towing and impounding your vehicle. The tow alone could cost several hundred dollars. The price of impound varies depending on where your car is stored, but impound lots charge an additional fee for each day a car is present. These costs add up quickly.
While you are entitled to take on a DWI defense on your own, your best chance of avoiding a criminal conviction is to work with a skilled DWI attorney. This means that you can expect to pay attorneys’ fees for this representation. The cost of your DWI Defense attorney is more of an investment into your freedom than an expense, however.
Costs Related to a DWI Conviction
Ask any reputed DWI Defense lawyer and they will tell you that other costs only occur with a conviction. The good news is that if your DWI lawyer obtains an acquittal on your behalf, you can avoid these costs.
Court Costs and Fines
There are direct monetary consequences for a DWI conviction that come in the form of fines. These fines are set by statute and require a defendant to pay an amount set by the judge. Additionally, the court can also assess court costs to a defendant. This includes the costs the court shouldered to handle the case.
Restitution is the requirement from the court that the defendant pays back an alleged victim for their economic losses. In the case of DWI cases, this often involves repairing another driver’s vehicle following an accident. If the damage was severe or insurance did not cover the full value of the car, restitution alone could run in the thousands of dollars.
Driver’s License fees
If you find your driver’s license is suspended or even revoked due to a DWI, you can expect the state to charge you fees in order to get your license back. You will be entirely responsible for those fees, and you cannot get your license back until you pay them.
One of the primary conditions for driving following a DWI conviction is the installation and use of an interlock device. An interlock device prevents a vehicle’s engine from starting unless the driver blows into a tube attached to the steering wheel. If the driver registers a 0.00 BAC result, the car will start. If the driver registers any amount of alcohol on their breath, the vehicle will not drive. What’s more, positive tests are typically reported to the court. This could lead to additional consequences.
There are other consequences of a conviction that can hit you in the pocketbook, even if they do not directly result from an act of the court. The most common example is the potential for increased insurance rates due to a DWI conviction. Insurers often cancel policies with drivers convicted of DWI. To obtain insurance and drive again, you can expect to pay a much higher premium.
A DWI conviction can also impact your ability to maintain employment. Employers routinely do background checks on prospective employees. A conviction for DWI could cost you a job you already have or prevent you from obtaining a new one. Even if a criminal conviction on a background check does not cost you your job, other aspects of a DWI conviction could. For instance, you could see the revocation of a professional license. Losing your driver’s license could also impact your ability to maintain a job that requires travel.
Discuss the Financial Impact of a DWI with a Skilled Attorney
It is understandable if the potential costs of a DWI convention feel overwhelming. For many, these costs represent an extreme financial hardship. Despite these challenges, some of these costs are avoidable.
By working with a skilled DWI Defense lawyer, you could improve your chances of avoiding a conviction and the financial difficulties that come with them. Remember: you will not owe any court costs, fines, or restitution if you are acquitted.
The DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller are ready to aggressively pursue a strong defense on your behalf. If successful, your financial burden could be reduced substantially. Call us right away at (612) 440-4608 to learn more.