The True Cost of a DUI
What Is a DUI?
A DUI is legally defined as an individual driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, more commonly known as “drunk driving.” Individuals can incur criminal charges should they be pulled over by a police officer and have a blood alcohol content of 0.08 to .10% depending on what state they live in and the specific laws surrounding levels of intoxication from the blood alcohol content. Once you have been formally charged with a DUI, it opens up a world of trouble and challenges within your day-to-day life. This can include issues with your employment, criminal charges, consequences, and loss of license causing disruptions in your ability to continue a social life and maintain your family commitments. A DUI has significant impacts that go far beyond the initial offense and incident of being caught driving drunk; it creates long-term consequences and effects that you will have to live with for years following the incident.
No one sets out to acquire a DUI charge, but the unfortunate truth is that individuals engaging in drunk driving are at an alarmingly high rate. In 2016, over 1 million Americans were arrested for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most people are aware of the potential dangers of driving under the influence, such as causing harm to yourself or causing damage to others through car accidents, hit and runs, or hitting an innocent bystander walking. However, the use of alcohol and drugs often produces feelings of invincibility and the mentality of “that would never happen to me,” causing many to engage in the high-risk behavior of drinking and driving even if they are aware of the potential dangers and consequences. While no one has the intention of causing harm to others, it can easily happen when alcohol and drugs are combined with the operation of a motor vehicle. In 2016 alone, there were over 10,000 Americans who lost their lives to alcohol impairment-related motor vehicle accidents. The rising concern of individuals impacted by impaired driving highlights the need for support within an alcohol or drug treatment program. This treatment will support individuals in understanding what has been fuelling their substance abuse while impacting their decision-making abilities and high-risk behavior involvement.
How Much Does a DUI Cost?
It is primarily known that the financial repercussions of a DUI can come with a high financial cost. However, the exact price varies from state to state, leading many to not fully grasp the economic impact of being convicted of a DUI. Due to each DUI being unique to each individual that it impacts, its costs will vary depending on the individual circumstances surrounding your DUI charge. Often, the cost is quite high. For first-time offenders, the estimated cost of a DUI is approximately $13,000. However, the costs can significantly increase to up to $27,000 for accrual of the expenses for the following items:
- Cost of towing or impounding your vehicle upon your arrest
- Set bail cost once you have been imprisoned for your offense
- Court associated costs, including fines and traffic tickets associated with your DUI
- Attorney fees for representation in your court proceedings and, for some, expenses related to your probation orders
- Court-mandated education programs centered around driving under the influence prevention methods
- Most individuals will experience an increase in vehicle registration costs after being convicted of a DUI
- Costs associated with reinstating your license after having it revoked from your DUI offense
The costs of a conviction for driving under the influence continue to increase as your number of offenses increases. For individuals that have been convicted of their second or third offense, the fines, and fees associated with a DUI charge increase dramatically. Additionally, the cost of insurance after incurring a second or third DUI offense will substantially increase, causing individuals to pay through the roof in insurance costs that often last for years after the offense and having your license reinstated.
Other factors that will impact the financial costs of a DUI include if you were involved in a DUI-related motor vehicle accident that caused injury or death to another person or severe property damage occurred. This often leads to lawsuits, paying for victim hospital bills, and costs associated with reparation for damages caused by your DUI. Individuals may also experience loss of employment due to their DUI convictions leading to loss of income and difficulties obtaining employment.
How a DUI Affects Your Life
Being convicted of a DUI can significantly impact a person’s emotional and mental health. After experiencing the devastating financial effects of a DUI, many are left attempting to put back the pieces in their life and recover from the damages done. This can take a toll on someone’s mental health as you process the losses of employment and trust within your relationships and negatively impact your reputation or social status. There is a negative stigma associated with being convicted of a DUI, and this societal stigma affects a person’s current relationships and the ability to form new, trusting relationships. Many will lose trust in you and your ability to handle yourself within public settings if alcohol or drugs are involved. Some close friends and family will begin to distance themselves from the relationship for fear of their safety or lack of trust. For anyone going through a DUI conviction, it is essential to have a support system by your side to give you the emotional support and guidance you need to get through this challenging process.
Learn how to deal with the relapse of a recovering alcoholic here:
The Mental and Emotional Costs of A DUI
The use of drugs and alcohol has been shown to impact a person’s behavior in the following ways:
- Disinhibition: Substance abuse causes the brain to weaken the ability to control impulses and urges, leading individuals to express emotions that are often suppressed, like aggression.
- Alcohol or drug myopia: While under the influence, a person’s ability to focus and perceive situations becomes impaired, causing problems to become misread and overreacted, leading to aggressive or violent reactions.
- Impaired cognitive functioning: Substance abuse causes an inability to regulate emotions, often leading to angry outbursts or aggressive acts, inability to problem solve, or make good, healthy decisions. These factors contribute to challenges in being able to respond to a situation without hostility or anger.
- Lack of consideration for future consequences while under the influence: Alcohol and drugs lower a person’s inhibitions leading to rash decisions that lack the forethought of potential consequences or damages.
Signs Alcohol Is Becoming a Problem
Common signs of a drug or alcohol addiction are:
- Isolating from loved ones
- Experiencing discord or challenges within your relationships
- Having financial issues or difficulties due to your substance abuse
- Difficulty with job performances or academics
- Expressing a desire to quit your use of substances but experiencing failed attempts at quitting
- Your time is consumed by planning, thinking about, and using alcohol or drugs
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms once you stop your use of alcohol or drugs
- Continuing to use alcohol or drugs even after experiencing negative consequences from your addiction
- Engaging in high-risk behaviors while under the influence
- Developing a tolerance for alcohol or drugs
Life After a DUI
Although there are consequences for your actions for a felony DUI, there is hope to regain your day-to-day life again through the support of alcohol or drug treatment. It would be best to address what has been at the root of your addiction and what is causing the negative consequences while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. With the support of addiction therapy methods, you will have the opportunity to learn how to heal from your alcohol addiction and develop trust again with your loved ones. Addiction treatment allows patients to reconnect with loved ones through family therapy and build trust by healing from their past to create a positive path for the future.
Addiction Treatment for Drugs and Alcohol at Muse
Muse Treatment Center provides patients with a drug and alcohol addiction treatment program that empowers them to rediscover their true authentic selves free of alcohol and drugs by supporting them in achieving their goals for sobriety. With the support of our dedicated team, patients are provided with individualized addiction treatment programs that help them address the root causes of their alcohol addiction while removing the stigma of addiction and DUIs through behavioral and addiction therapy methods. Addiction is a multifaceted disease requiring a whole-person integrated approach to addiction treatment that supports healing from co-occurring disorders with dual diagnosis, holistic treatment methods, and behavioral therapy. Patients will be placed on the road to recovery, equipped with the tools to remain sober and overcome potential triggers in the future.
Contact Muse Treatment Center at (800) 426-1818 to hear more about how you can heal from the impacts of a DUI and your alcohol or drug addiction to ensure that you can live a life of sober living and health.