Most people do not think twice about spending $20 on alcohol or purchasing a few drinks during happy hour with friends. While it may not be expensive to become intoxicated, the consequences of driving while intoxicated are extremely expensive – and often cost more than individuals realize. Driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher in the state of Massachusetts can result in an OUI arrest. If convicted, the costs associated with that conviction can haunt a person for the rest of their life – turning a $20 night into a few thousand dollars over time.
What Are the Costs of an OUI Conviction?
Massachusetts has tough laws on those that choose to drink and drive. The first and second offense are typically charged as misdemeanors, but the third, fourth and fifth offense can be charged as a felony – which can impact a person’s life much more than they realize. A few of the hidden costs of an OUI can include:
- Fines – All OUI convictions impose a fine on the offender. The fine can vary and depends on the severity of the charge. The minimum is $50 and the fines can increase to as high as $50,000 – especially for those that are charged with a fifth offense OUI.
- Jail Time and/or Bail – There is a daily charge for incarceration – which most people do not realize. These daily fees will add up over time and the individual is required to pay these daily fines. Also, there is the issue of bail. A person may be released on bail, but they or a family member will have to post a bond or pay the entire bail. If that individual does not appear in court, the payee will forfeit their bail or bond.
- Attorney Fees – Most individuals arrested for an OUI will need an attorney – even if it is their first offense. While attorney fees can vary, it is important to note that the fees can increase when the case is more complex – such as an accident caused by driving under the influence.
- License Suspension and Reissue Fees – There is an automatic driver’s license suspension in the state ranging from 30 days to 10 years. This will force the individual to use public transit (which comes at a cost) or pay a friend or family member to drive them. Even when they legally can have their license reinstated, there is a reinstatement fee that can be as high as $1,000 or more.
- Drug or Alcohol Treatment Classes – Sometimes the court will require an OUI offender to attend drug or alcohol treatment classes. These classes may be part of the sentence or probation requirements and come out of the defendant’s pocket.
- Ignition Interlock Device (IID) – OUI offenders may be required to use an IID, especially with a second offense. These come with an initial installation fee, and a monthly monitoring fee. The cost to repair or maintain the unit comes out of the defendant’s own money as well.
- Higher Insurance Premiums – Insurance companies will increase premium rates for anyone convicted of an OUI. The increase can depend on the circumstances of that OUI, the number of offenses, and the defendant’s existing driving record. Regardless, premiums can easily go up a few hundred dollars per year – especially if a person is required to obtain SR-22 insurance.
- Loss of Job or Income – Some employers will refuse to continue employment for someone convicted of an OUI, especially if they drive as part of their employment. If that is the case, a person could suffer significant income losses and a conviction may make it difficult to obtain future employment.
Avoid the Excessive Costs of Conviction – Contact Keegan Law
The costs of an OUI conviction can easily compute into the thousands. To avoid this hidden financial burden, hire a criminal defense attorney for your OUI arrest. Contact Keegan Law online now or call (617) 799-7644.