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How Much Does a DUI Cost Over 10 Years?

How Much Does DUI Cost Over 10 YearsPossibly Millions.

 By: William C. Head, Criminal Defense Attorney Atlanta GA, and ABA Board-Certified DUI Attorney

Lawyer of the Year Award | Bubba Head

How the Impact of a DUI Conviction Can Cost Millions Over Ten Years?

The CEO of a publicly-traded corporation cannot afford the negative exposure and impact of a drunk driving conviction. Because a board of directors sees adverse publicity as a possible market force to drive down stock prices, a high-level executive, celebrity, or sports figure whose DUI conviction gets publicized can mean that the high-dollar job, company car, and benefits package can disappear when a news story of the pending criminal case affects company value.

This salary package, over ten years, can easily be in the hundreds of millions for this individual, whereas the janitor at the same company may not notice any impact from a first offense DUI conviction. The ten-year cost to a garbage collector or janitor whose clean criminal history is not essential to his or her employment, when compared to a high-ranking business executive, is like comparing the cost of a single grape to a watermelon.

The Higher the Client’s Job Salary, the Greater the Need to Beat a DUI

Our clients are not people who have nothing to lose. Most people in a low-income job category with a drunk driving case will have a court-appointed public defender because they cannot afford any criminal attorney, much less hire the best DUI attorney. These citizens worry more about being able to stay out of jail and be able to drive than their future jobs.

Many people charged with a GA DUI call our law office to ask, “How much is a DUI ticket?” This question is both ambiguous and far too simplistic to quote a DUI ticket price. These unsophisticated callers act as though they are checking prices on a 55” 4K television. Attorneys are NOT alike when it comes to finding the best lawyer for DUI defense.

Plus, the DUI cost after a DUI conviction in one state cannot be compared to the cost of a DUI conviction in another state since more information is needed to determine the final cost. Several states, like Texas and New Jersey, stack on huge surcharge costs that boost fines (a small part of drunk driving costs) to four or five times the amount of the fine itself.

DUI Cost Is Far More Than Just the DUI Ticket Price

More importantly, the cost of DUI lawyer fees is a mere fraction of the total costs of being convicted of DUI, in terms of economic impact, for almost all accused drunk drivers. Even if your fines and surcharges were $2000 in a DUI GA case, if you lose your job, or cannot get a new job due to a DUI conviction, the attempt to isolate a legal fee as a cost of DUI is a waste of time.

Every state’s laws are different, and possible options for a first offense DUI, such as “deferment” of the youthful offender or potential expungement of DUI will be controlled by the state law where the DUI-DWI occurs. Other quick examples are from WV and AZ, where a high BAC makes you ineligible for an expungement in West Virginia on a first offense DUI, and an “extreme DUI” in Arizona puts you in jail for a lengthy period, regardless of it being a 1st DUI.

By way of other state-by-state examples, DUI attorney costs and many other staggering financial factors are listed below. Your state DUI laws and the interplay with federal laws play a part in this equation. Certainly, a lengthy reputation for winning is the highest credential of DUI lawyers in every state, especially for a second or subsequent DUI offense.

How the Cost of a Lawyer Can Be a Meaningless Issue

Georgia Drunk Driving Lawyer Cost

Variables on your DUI lawyer costs will include whether the arrest is for a felony vs. misdemeanor and whether a drunk driving accident has led to civil damages and possibly punitive damages that can run into the millions of dollars. Plus, for any death or serious injury cases caused by drunk driving, the federal bankruptcy laws prohibit the DUI driver from being able to discharge this category of debt – ever.

With jury verdicts in DUI death and serious bodily injury cases caused by drunk driving often exceeding $5 million, the virtually unlimited financial exposure an accused drunk driver may have is limitless. Therefore, criminal defense lawyer fees, even for the best DUI attorney in America, are a mere drop in the bucket.

DUI Attorney Cost Atlanta

Whether you hire the best DUI lawyer in Atlanta, or the top Houston DWI lawyer in Texas, a $15,000 extra cost to hire the best attorney is insignificant. In the big picture, this fee to maximize the chances of winning the driving under the influence case, over what a good DUI-DWI lawyer may charge, is chump change.

Protecting your financial future and advancement opportunities is the REAL objective. States like Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Montana will even JAIL you for a DWI-DUI refusal. Plus, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Arizona hammer repeat offenders with mandatory jail time that quickly leads to a person’s termination from most jobs.

Limit Your DUI Lawyer Search to a Highly Rated DUI Law Firm 

Top Criminal Lawyer in GA Cory Yager

Beyond the frightening factors and variables described above, more justifications exist for seeking a DUI defense lawyer with impeccable, unmatched success over many years and a reputation for knowing how to beat a DUI. Read over attorney ratings and previous client reviews, but look at the four best, independent legal industry lawyer ratings, to see if he or she has achieved global recognition for being the best DUI attorney (in your state).

Highly Rated Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys

The following seven (7) major reasons mandate limiting your search to a criminal defense attorney who is a DUI lawyer in your state:

  1. Some states (like Washington, Maryland, West Virginia, Illinois, and Mississippi) offer certain first offense DUI driver diversions, deferrals, first offender act, expungement, probation before judgment, record restriction, or other alternatives to a first-time DUI offender. Other states, like South Carolina, Georgia, and North Carolina, do not. New York and Colorado are our only states with a lesser category of DUI-OWI-DWI, called DWAI (driving while ability impaired) which has distinct advantages for drivers in those two states.
  2. Each state’s legislature decides how long car insurance companies can upcharge you for your bad driving history from a DUI case. States like California and South Carolina (which have an integrated auto insurance system tied to a DUI driver’s license) are lengthy and punitive, while other states (e.g., GA) limit the higher rate to three years. Other states, like California, allow exorbitant car insurance costs for much longer. [See the California infographic below].                 Cost of DUI in GA
  3. Over half the states, including Tennessee, now require a mandatory ignition interlock on every DWI-DUI offense, including first offense DUI. Alabama recently updated its laws to be more like Tennessee and altered its favorable youthful offender program to add an interlock device, when that driver is eligible. The period for installation and maintenance of the required ignition interlock device installation and monthly monitoring and maintenance expense commonly lasts for a year or more, before you can obtain license reinstatement or obtain a work permit or restricted license. The duration of interlock installation for repeat offenders can last ten years (New Jersey) for repeat DUI offenders, meaning a cost of $30,000 to $40,000.
  4. Many states impose a lifetime ban on obtaining a driver’s license after a third DUI offense (Michigan), 4th DUI (Florida), or reaching some level of having a recidivist drunk driving criminal record. This ban can mean that the cost of DUI can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars in lost opportunity cost. Once listed as a banned driver, other states will not issue you a driver’s license. Few people can afford UBER or LYFT for the remainder of their life, and except for a few dozen major American cities, adequate public transportation alternatives do not exist.
  5. Employment impact from a DUI-OVI conviction is one of the most punitive aspects of any DWI-DUI conviction. Employers, like Sprint, ban hiring anyone with a DUI, and certain highly valuable types of high-security employment proscribe anyone with a DUI from meeting high-security clearance background checks. Easily, the differential between the higher-paying jobs and “leftover” positions can run into millions of dollars for a person with a lifetime criminal history from a DUI conviction since many states have no method of expunction or record restriction in their state DUI laws (e.g., Georgia).
  6. Prosecutors do not like to lose cases. They also share information on attorneys and know which criminal defense attorneys are “pleaders,” and which ones are “fighters.” If the prosecutor assigned to your case has no fear of the trial skills and the impressive jury trial victories of your chosen DUI attorney, don’t expect to see your DUI reduced to reckless driving (in states that don’t prohibit such reductions, like Oregon and North Carolina). Like all business transactions and even every fistfight, knowing that you will likely lose is a great motivator to “make a deal” and not fight.
  7. When you have identified your court’s best DUI lawyer, he or she will be discussing how your drunk driving case can be won (or, in states with favorable first DUI offense alternatives, to restrict criminal records) and the steps that will be mandated for you to be eligible. Because many states have repealed DUI first offense plea alternatives with some helpful driver’s license concessions (e.g., Georgia DUI nolo contendere plea, and nolo contendere in North Carolina), you may have to hire the best DUI attorney in your state one even a first offense DUI.

Avoid DUI Penalties and Consequences by Striving to Win Your DUI Case

For many of our DUI law firm clients, seeking to win the DUI case is the only answer. Our clients do not ask us, “How much do DUI classes cost?” Instead of reviewing possible DUI penalties, they want to know their chances of winning, and how our DUI lawyers would go about doing it.

In a high percentage of our DUI Georgia cases, our DUI specialist law partners can assist clients NOT to have a DUI on their record. This exercise in discovering how much a DUI cost over ten years shows that this “window” of time for paying out of pocket for a DUI conviction is far too short of a viewpoint and should be extended to the cost of DUI “over a LIFETIME.”

FREE LEGAL ADVICE at Initial Lawyer Consultation

Because our DUI attorneys meet with clients for a FREE lawyer consultation, what do you have to lose by calling our 24-Hour Number: 404-567-5515? Do you know any surgeons who will give you a FREE legal consultation, and talk to you whenever you call? Larry Kohn, Cory Yager, and William Head are ready to help those facing a DUI in Georgia.

Best Atlanta DUI Lawyer Bubba Head

The penalties for DUI in Georgia can be stiff. If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you could face jail, fines, and more. Learn why our partner’s lawyer ratings are among the best in America for DUI law firms. Our DUI attorneys will treat you like FAMILY and make you a raving fan of our legal services. What do you have to LOSE by getting a FREE case assessment?


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