What Could a DUI in PA Cost You?

June 2, 2016 / 12:00 am

There’s a lot you can do with $10,000.

You could travel, invest in property, remodel part of your home or buy a decent used car.

It’s not change-your-life money, but for most of us, it’s a figure large enough for us to take notice. It’s also the average cost for a DUI arrest in PA, according to the Center for Traffic Safety in York County.

No matter the figure, there’s no arguing with the fact that a DUI (driving while under the influence) arrest will cost you.

The commonwealth’s penalty structure separates DUIs into three tiers:

  • The first level, general DUI impairment, carries a $300 fine and up to six months on probation. General impairment refers to a case where a driver has a blood-alcohol level of .08 to .099 percent and is incapable of safe driving, but hasn’t caused any injury or property damage.
  • High rate impairment refers to drivers with a BAC of .1 to .159 percent, or with the same BAC as someone at the general impairment level after a minor accident. This category is also used for school bus drivers with a BAC of .2 to .159 percent and commercial vehicle drivers with a BAC of .04 to .159 percent. The punishment at this level is two days to six months in jail, $500 to $5,000 in fines and a year-long license suspension.
  • At the highest rate, drivers have a BAC of .16 percent or greater, have refused a DUI test, or are under the influence of controlled substances. At this level, convicted drivers face three days to six months in jail, $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and a 12-month license suspension.

In addition to these fixed costs, there are other factors to consider:

  • Getting your car back – If your vehicle is towed from the scene of your arrest, it can cost $250 or more to recover it.
  • Paying more for insurance – A DUI arrest will cause your car insurance rate to go up, in some cases as much as 450 percent. You might pay $5,000 a year more for car insurance after a DUI conviction.
  • Loss of income – It’s more difficult to put a price tag on this, but a DUI arrest and conviction will likely affect your career. Being in court means missing work, and having a DUI on your record can be a black mark on certain licensed professions: nurses, lawyers, doctors, etc.
  • Going to school – Your judge may order you to attend DUI classes as part of your conviction. This can cost between $100 and $400.
  • Going to court – There’s no easy way to tell how much you’ll pay for an attorney on your DUI case. Your lawyer may charge a flat fee, or an hourly rate that could range from $100 to $300. If it’s your first offense and you’re willing to plead guilty, it might cost anywhere from $400 to $5,000. But if you take the case to trial, expect to spend as much as five times that amount. If your trial strategy involves expert witnesses, add anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 to the price.

As we’ve argued before, if you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, it’s more important to worry about your defense than the cost of hiring a DUI lawyer in PA.

The DUI lawyer in PA at Penglase & Benson are well-versed in handling DUI cases, and by hiring one of them, you’re tapping into the expertise you need to bring you case to the most optimal conclusion.

We can investigate whether police followed correct procedure when performing the blood and breathalyzer tests. If those tests weren’t handled according to protocol, your charges could be dismissed. Even if the case seems open and shut, our attorneys can be by your side to protect your rights and make sure you have the best possible representation.

Contact us today for a free consultation with a DUI lawyer in PA, and we can help you get started on your defense.