What are the costs of a DUI arrest in the state of Florida?

Expecting leniency because they have a clean prior record, many who face first-time DUI charges overlook the associated costs of their arrests.

All too easily, a night of fun and revelry may end in a drunk driving arrest. Sometimes, people who have never been charged with driving under the influence before may think the court will be lenient with their penalties. Even if they find clemency with regards to serving jail time, there are several expenses associated with a drunk driving conviction which may add up quickly. In order to protect themselves, it is important for Florida drivers to understand the costs of a first-time DUI arrest.

DUI classes

Among other penalties, those convicted of drunk driving may be ordered to complete an alcohol education program. The registration for these court-ordered courses is $265. It is up to drivers themselves to cover the costs of such programs, the expense is not picked up by the state.

Probation and community service

People who plead guilty to, or are found guilty of, DUI may be sentenced to up to one year of probation. The cost of this supervision is not free, however, and people in Orange County may have to pay a one-time intake fee of $20, a one-time $17 fee for drug testing, $6 per month for telephone reporting and a $50 monthly monitoring fee. As a condition of their probation, motorists convicted of drunk driving may also be ordered to perform a minimum of 50 hours of community service. In lieu of serving, people in some cases may be permitted to pay a $10 fine for each hour they were ordered to work.

Court fines and fees

In addition to jail time, people who are convicted of DUI may be ordered to pay a court fine. For a first-time offense, this may range from $500 to $1,000, provided there are no aggravating factors. Drivers charged with drunk driving may also have to pay $15 to obtain their Florida driving records, as well as other court fees and prosecution-related expenses.

Vehicle impoundment

With few exceptions, the vehicles people are driving at the time of their DUI arrests must be impounded. If they have not been previously convicted of alcohol-related traffic offenses, their cars may be held for up to 10 days. People must typically pay the towing company for their services, in addition to a storage fee. For a 10-day impound, the storage fees may total $150 or more.

Seeking legal guidance

Drunk driving is prosecuted and punished aggressively in Florida. Consequently, motorists may be paying for a DUI long after they were arrested and served their time. Thus, it may benefit people who have been charged with alcohol-related traffic offenses to obtain legal representation. A lawyer may help ensure their rights are protected, and aid them in building a solid drunk driving defense.