If a police officer pulls you over because they suspect you of a driving under the influence (DUI) infraction, they will ask you to perform certain physical tests before they arrest you and chemical tests after arrest. You may question the validity of those test results because you know that you were not drunk at the time of the traffic stop.
Even if you aren’t sure that the test results are accurate, you may still feel like you have no choice but to plead guilty to the charges against you. You may think that it certainly isn’t worth the financial investment of fighting the charges, but you must understand the true financial impact of a DUI conviction.
The fines and court costs are just the start
Subsidized housing: Defendants may not qualify to live in affordable or subsidized housing.
Private housing: Defendants may be unable to obtain rental housing from private landlords.
Eviction: Defendants and their entire families may be evicted from rental housing, especially affordable or subsidized housing.
Driving: Defendants may have their driving privileges suspended.
Immigration: Defendants may be unable to adjust their immigration status, may face deportation, and inability to renew a driver license.
Defendants may be required to report their status on applications and may be unable to obtain private or public employment.
Military: Defendants may be unable to join the military.
Government: Defendants may be unable to work for a state or municipal agency if convicted of a first-degree misdemeanor directly related to the job.
Public safety: Defendants may be unable to work for a county, a municipality a seaport, or an airport if the job is critical to security or public safety.
Children, elderly: Defendants may be unable to work in law enforcement, corrections, public schools, or another agency that works with children or the elderly.
Licenses: Defendants may lose or be unable to obtain professional licenses, even when unrelated to charges.
Associations: Defendants may be barred from memberships necessary for employment, such as the Florida Bar, real estate associations, and medical boards.
Business: Defendants may be unable to obtain business loans from the Small Business Administration.
Admission: Defendants may be denied or delayed admittance into private or public universities or colleges.
Financial aid: Defendants may not qualify for financial aid for a period of time if a conviction is for possession of a controlled substance while
receiving financial aid.
Housing: Defendants may be denied or removed from student housing.
Discipline: Defendants may be expelled, suspended, or subjected to academic discipline.
The true financial impact of a DUI isn’t just about fines and court costs. You need to include another major expense. What you pay for insurance will change. Your insurance premium is a reflection of how much coverage you carry and how much risk of a claim you present in the eyes of the insurance company.
Your age, your sex and you’re driving history all influence what you pay for insurance. A DUI is one of the strongest negative marks you could have on your driving record. The average policy in Florida costs $2,309, which is already much higher than the national average cost for car insurance annually, which is $1,548. After a single DUI, a Florida driver will see a 47% increase in their insurance costs.
The average insurance policy expenses go up to $3,394 after a DUI. You may have to pay more for your insurance for up to ten years after your date of conviction. You will also have to pay to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, which can add hundreds of dollars to your overall costs.
A court-based defense may be a more cost-effective solution
When you consider what you will pay for insurance and the inconvenience of other penalties like losing your license, the cost of defending yourself may actually be lower than the cost of entering a guilty plea.