You are sitting at your desk at work looking at the last bit of paperwork on a Friday at 3pm. You look up past the pictures on your desk of your family in front of your home at a coworker as she enters the door of your office. “Hey, it’s been a rough week. Some of us are going to knock off early and go down the street to Sam’s for happy hour. They have $5 martinis. Want to join us?” You look the clock on your wall next to your diploma and realize that if you leave at 3pm and stay with them until 5pm you can still be home at your normal time of 6pm. Before you make that decision, know that getting a DUI can cost you everything you have including your job, your home, and even your family.
DUI’s are financially expensive. The average 1st time DUI in the Chicago area will cost you about $10,000. This amount includes fines, Court costs, Court monitoring, evaluations, treatment, Breath interlock fees to drive your car, and attorney’s fees. This estimate of costs is based upon there being no complicating factors, like a 2nd or 3rd DUI, blood tests, experts fees, accident, or unfortunately deaths. Factors such as these can skyrocket the costs of successfully defending the case against you.
Most people think of DUI’s as a traffic ticket, but they are so much more. DUI’s in today’s world have far-reaching effects. You are familiar with being arrested and charged from TV and the movies, but DUI’s are not fine-only offenses. DUI’s in the State of Illinois range from class A misdemeanors to class X felonies. In addition to losing your driver’s license, your job, and having your professional license (such as a Doctor, nurse, or airplane pilot) taken from you by the government, you can be incarcerated anywhere from 1 day in a county jail to 30 years in the State penitentiary depending on the circumstances. Think about what a significant time in custody would do to you professionally, financially, and socially.
Every client that comes into my office tells me that they didn’t think it would happen to them. As you read this article, you probably don’t think it will happen to you. Roll the dice enough times and odds are your luck will run out. People that are charged with DUI also tell me they are good people. They generally are, but you don’t have to be a bad person to break the law. Running a stop sign requires no ill intent, but if you don’t see it and run the sign, you still have broken the law.
DUI’s are costly financially, socially, professionally and emotionally for everyone involved. There is a reason for that high cost. Society wants it to be a deterrent for you to think twice about having those $5 martinis at happy hour and then driving home. Driving while intoxicated slows response time, clouds judgment and is a contributing factor in accidents and deaths of other motorists. Financial costs are painful, but they are things we can recover from. Deaths of others through a DUI accident and penitentiary time are not.