Today is the start of Memorial Day Weekend, a time many Americans have been looking forward to. Many of us will be returning to the roads after weeks spent in lockdown due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, many people engaging in Memorial Day festivities will be consuming plenty of alcohol, which means plenty of people driving under the influence. Police are counting on plenty of intoxicated drivers this weekend and are ready to make DUI-related arrests. If you are stopped by law enforcement while driving under the influence, you could end up paying a very steep price, even if this is just your first DUI. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence, contact the Don Turner Legal Team for a free virtual consultation.
Police are advising people who plan to celebrate with alcohol this Memorial Day Weekend to plan a sober ride home or take advantage of rideshares, such as Lyft or Uber. This is advice you need to listen to, even if you do not think you are too impaired to operate your motor vehicle. The National Safety Council estimates that 366 people will die on the roads this Memorial Day Weekend. Many of these deaths will be caused by drunk driving, one of the leading causes of fatal accidents in the United States.
In fact, of the 397 people who died over Memorial Day Weekend in 2010, 40 percent of these fatalities were alcohol related. In fact, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the “100 deadliest days of driving”. This period of time is especially deadly for teen motorists, who have been consuming alcohol earlier and earlier in recent years.
There has also been an increase in speeding, distracted driving, and behaviors behind the wheel that can lead to traffic fatalities since the start of lockdown. There was a 14 percent spike in fatal accidents compared to last year due to a rise in reckless driving, and it has police in other states concerned for what Memorial Day might hold. Add a spike in alcohol consumption and a surge of people on the roads, many of whom will be traveling out of state for Memorial Day celebrations, and you have a recipe for tragedy. Drive under the influence, and you could find yourself paying a terrible price, in more ways than one.
What is the True Cost of a DUI?
If this is your first DUI conviction, you will be required to pay a fine of at least $300 and up to $1,000. It is likely that you will be charged the maximum amount, and your court costs will make this fine even steeper. If you want your license reinstated after your DUI conviction, you will have to pay over $350 for a 20-hour Risk Reduction Program and around $250 for an Alcohol and Drug Evaluation. Even after all that, you will still have to pay $210 before your license will be officially reinstated.
It only gets more expensive from there. If you injured someone or damaged property while driving under the influence, your victims are entitled to sue you for any damages they incurred. This can include car repairs, medical bills, any loss of income they may have suffered, attorney fees, and rental fees. If you were arrested out of state, you will need to pay the associated travel costs in order to attend court. You will also have to rely on rideshares or public transportation in order to get to and from the 40 hours of community service you will be required to serve as part of your sentence.
Your car insurance company will also consider you a less safe driver due to your DUI conviction. This can cause your insurance premium to as much as quadruple and in some cases, might lead to your insurance company outright refusing to cover you. You will also need fill out an SR-22 liability form after your conviction in order for the DMV to reinstate your license. This SR-22 will act as a red flag about your DUI conviction and will cause your insurance premiums to rise. It can also limit your choice of insurers, as many companies will refuse to take the risk on a high-risk driver.
Altogether, you could end up paying up to $25,000.00 for a first-time DUI conviction. That is not even factoring in the restitution you will be required to pay if your injured someone or damaged property while you were driving under the influence. Your decision to drink and drive this Memorial Day Weekend can have terrible consequences that can affect you years into the future.
Stay Safe this Memorial Day Weekend
Memorial Day Weekend should be a fun and relaxing time for you and your family, especially after all those weeks spent in lockdown. Keep it that way by staying safe on the road and staying out of the driver’s seat if you consumed any alcohol. If you can, have a sober friend or family member act as your designated driver. Alternatively, take advantage of taxi services if they are in your area or use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft. The small fee of using a rideshare or a taxi is nothing compared to the immense cost of even a first-time DUI conviction.
Don’t ruin your time in the sun for yourself, your loved ones, or those on the road with you by driving under the influence. Stay safe and aware this weekend, and Happy Memorial Day from the Don Turner Legal Team!