A DUI’s Financial Implications for Your Family
A conviction for driving under the influence is much more than just a criminal charge. Just the financial damage alone inflicted by the state for this behavior has enhanced the punitive responsibilities greatly. Of course, even the first DUI in some states will result in incarceration in the right situation, such as an aggravated case of impaired driving or being involved in an accident.
In addition, injuries to individuals who may be involved in an alcohol-related accident can result in other more serious charges, along with civil lawsuits. The financial punishment for a DUI can be overly comprehensive and clearly extend beyond the defendant to an entire family.
Fines are assessed according to the level of the intoxicated driving charge. Multiple offenders will have larger fine ranges, as subsequent DUI convictions carry significantly higher financial and incarceration punishments. Those defendants receiving other charges in association with a DUI, such as an aggravated charge based on minor occupants of the vehicle or excessive blood-alcohol content level, will also have fines assessed for the additional charges.
All fines are compounded and collected in consecutive succession. Although courts accept large fines on payment schedules, failing to meet the payment schedule can result in additional charges or an arrest for contempt, so the financial punishment structure can be continuous.
All states have implemented an education program for each convicted drunk driver to complete before a case is settled. Fees for this program are routinely paid by the defendant, but the money is collected differently in each state. Sometimes the program fee is paid directly to the certified treatment agency. Other states make the fee payable to the state and transfer funds to the treatment facility operator.
Multiple offenders usually attend alcoholic driver classes for at least one year, with each class carrying a fee. Obviously, this punishment can also be a continuous financial problem.
Vehicle Insurance Rates
One of the dominant hidden financial problems associated with a DUI conviction is an assured increase in motor vehicle insurance rates. Even drivers convicted of impaired driving on a first offense are placed in a high-risk insurance pool, dramatically impacting automobile insurance premiums. Insurance policies are even cancelled in some cases, so finding a new insurance agency can also compound financial problems.
Convicted drunk drivers who are employed in the transportation industry are often left without employment just at the time they need it most. All convicted DUI recipients are not equal in the ability to adjust to the fallout of a charge. Even when a DUI is charged on borderline evidence, a DUI charge can still be a devastating event for the wrong individual.
It is important for anyone who has any opportunity for a reduced intoxicated driving charge to hire an experienced and effective DUI attorney who can craft a case to the court that may result in a reduction to reckless driving.
Reckless driving may carry an alcohol designation, but is prosecuted below the impaired level and has little impact on subsequent charges. Fines can still be considerable, but additional charge fines may be lessened.
Prosecutors have the authority to adjust a charge when the evidence is generally minimal and there are no extenuating circumstances. Hiring a solid lawyer can have a great impact on the final adjudication of a case. Even with a first offense, the comprehensive financial damages of a DUI conviction can create hardship for years to come.
Valerie Stout Cyrus is a freelance writer who frequently researches DUI issues. She has found that Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox LLP, found at http://www.mblklawfirm.com/san-bernardino-dui-defense-attorney/, have a successful history of eliminating or reducing DUI charges.
Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oggiedog/5426731597/
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