Every year there are over 1,000,000 Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrests in the United States. This statistic is shocking when the consequences and alternatives to DWI are widely distributed in the media. A single DWI comes with long-term effects on a person’s lifestyle, wallet, driving record, and insurance policies. After you are arrested you can expect the following.

1. Embarrassment

Your mugshot, arrest record, and jail time is now public knowledge and can be searched by anyone. Many companies have a zero tolerance policy for alcohol-related incidences. Immediate jail time after the arrest is standard protocol if you miss work you could lose your job. If your position involves driving, your company has grounds to discharge an employee.

2. Financial Impact

Fines, court costs, impound charges, lawyers, and a number of other charges keeps growing. If a person has been fired or even if they were able to keep their job, many people with DWI’s have a hard time paying the bills directly after a DWI. If payments are missed, this can directly affect your credit score. Even a first offense can be a major hit to your wallet the average costs are:

  • Fines:   500 – 1,000 depending on your state
    • Court Costs: 200
  • Lawyer:  2,500 for a misdemeanor DWI
  • Impound and Tow Fees: 200 – 800
  • Probation: 1,200 a year
  • License Reinstatement  – 125.00
  • Rise in combined insurance policies: 1000 per year for average 3 years
  • Alcohol treatment classes: 1,000
  • Alternate transportation: 400 – 1,000
  • Jail Time: 350                            

3. Insurance Policies Rise

Auto Insurance: on average will rise 800.00 or more per year for an average of 3 years after the DWI offense. Depending on your policyholder, the offender may be dropped altogether from their policy or the policy may rise to a rate unobtainable to the policyholder.

Health Insurance: Injured? Many health insurance plans will not cover incidents involving alcohol but will still raise your premium. You must read your policy thoroughly as some explicitly note that your medical bills will not be covered if there is alcohol or drugs present in the blood. The amount of alcohol is not factored into this decision it is a present or not present question. Some states have made this stipulation illegal while others have held strong.

Homeowners Insurance: Remember all those fines and fees? Many people who have been charged with a DWI have to make payment plans to cover the costs incurred with a DWI. These payment plans and credit cards all negatively affect your credit score. When your policyholder annually runs your credit for renewal your homeowners insurance will increase. Even if you are working on improving your score throughout the year, your annual will remain the same until the following renewal.

4. Loss of License

Loss of driver’s license, on a first offense the offender will lose their license a minimum of 180 days. Multiple DUI’s have harsher sentencing and lengthier revocation periods. Meaning you are still paying your car payment and increased auto, home, and health insurance and you cannot use any of them for further claims or accept even more inflated premiums.

The risk of the DWI is simply not worth the national average costs of 15,000. It can take years to emotionally and financially recover from a first time DWI. The stigma, costs, and years of high insurance rates can be a dark cloud on a person’s life.

DISCLAIMER: The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem.  Corporate offices for Xavier + Associates (formerly Anelli Xavier) are located at 269 W. Jefferson St.; Syracuse, New York 13202; Telephone No.: (315) 473-0899.  Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.  Attorney Advertising.