Driving under the influence (DUI) can cost you – not only in terms of the damage to your reputation, but also in terms of court-ordered fines, treatment and education fees, and increased insurance premiums. If you or a family member has been charged with DUI, you need to be prepared for the potential expenses. However, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can fight to minimize the penalties you face. Continue reading to learn more about the costs of drunk driving in Pennsylvania – and consult an attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one is facing these charges.
Pennsylvania DUI Fines: First, Second, Third Offense
The true cost of a DUI includes more than just court fees and fines. There can also be additional expenses and financial losses, such as lost wages, reinstatement fees, and higher auto insurance rates.
Fines and fees for a DUI can vary, depending on the details of the offense. For example, if it is your first DUI offense and your blood alcohol content (BAC) was in the .08 to .099% range, you may be fined $300. However, if it is your second offense, your fine could be as high as $2,500 – even with a BAC in the same range. Potential fines for DUI in Pennsylvania include the following:
- .08 to .099% BAC (“General Impairment”)
- First Offense – $300
- Second Offense – $300 to $2,500
- Third Offense – $500 to $5,000
- .10 to .159% BAC (“High BAC”)
- First Offense – $500 to $5,000
- Second Offense – $750 to $5,000
- Third Offense – $1,500 to $10,000
- Drugs or .16%+ (“Highest BAC”)
- First Offense – $1,000 to $5,000
- Second Offense – $1,500 to $10,000
- Third Offense – $2,500 to $10,000
Note that drugged driving offenses are automatically placed into the “highest BAC” category – which also comes with the harshest penalties. If you were arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana, prescription pills, or other controlled substances, you should consult with a Philadelphia drugged driving lawyer right away.
As you can see by comparing the lists above, court-imposed DUI fines can range anywhere from $300 to $10,000 in Pennsylvania, depending on the nature of the offense. However, as previously mentioned, court-imposed fines aren’t the only expenses that can arise out of DUI cases. Continue reading for an explanation of some additional costs you may be facing.
What Will a DUI Cost Me?
In Pennsylvania, one of the penalties for a DUI – or, as it is sometimes called, DWI (driving while intoxicated) – includes license suspension. This can impact your ability to obtain or maintain employment, because you may have difficulty commuting to and from work. The amount this will ultimately cost you is dependent on two factors:
- The length of the suspension imposed
- The court’s willingness to grant occupational driving privileges during the suspension
Note that the court will require proof of insurance and proof of employment before considering granting driving privileges.
Not only can missing work hurt your finances – there are also reinstatement fees to get your license (and driving privileges) back. At the end of any license suspension imposed by the court, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will require a reinstatement fee to be paid prior to allowing a driver’s license to be reinstated. The license reinstatement fee in Pennsylvania is generally around $70.
In addition to the hassle of obtaining an occupational limited license (OLL), plus fees for license reinstatement, you are also likely to face higher car insurance premiums for years after the DUI is disposed of. In fact, one analysis of insurance rates before and after a DUI found the following increases at three major auto insurance companies:
- Before DUI – $2,388
- After DUI – $3,198
- Increase – 33.9%
- Before DUI – $3,072
- After DUI – $4,516
- Increase – 47%
- State Farm
- Before DUI – $1,616
- After DUI – $1,960
- Increase – 31.3%
Some drivers even find themselves unable to purchase insurance after a DUI, and will be required to purchase a bond proving financial responsibility before being permitted to drive again.
On top of insurance hikes and reinstatement fees, you may also be required to attend a driving school, or to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol abuse. If so, it will be your responsibility to pay for the associated fees and costs. For instance, you may be required to attend Alcohol Highway Safety School (AHSS), which generally costs somewhere in the range of several hundred dollars. To use an example, under the Montgomery County DUI Program, AHSS costs $200, which is due one week before the first session. Additionally, note that there is a $30 fee to reschedule classes.
Philadelphia DUI Defense Lawyer Fighting Drunk Driving Charges
The exact cost for a DUI is difficult to calculate due to the many variables involved. However, those faced with DUI charges can generally expect to pay court-ordered fines, lose some of their wages, pay a license reinstatement fee, pay increased automobile insurance premiums, and pay for driving courses or treatment. Together, this can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.
Do not wait to take action if you or a family member was arrested for DUI, drugged driving, or related offenses. If you were charged with DUI in Pennsylvania, contact Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Lloyd Long online or at (215) 302-0171 for a free consultation about your options.