The price to pay for a conviction for a DUI in Georgia is not at all pretty to say the least. We're talking not only out-of-pocket expenses including fines, court-costs, counseling, Georgia DUI School, probation fees, etc. But also costs that go way past these that include the loss of many opportunities.
First, let's examine the out-of-pocket costs.
It's important to note that most DUIs are deemed misdemeanors in Georgia. This means a fine up to $1,000 and up to 12 months in jail. A third Georgia DUI in ten years is a high and aggravated misdemeanor and means a fine up to $5,000. A fourth Georgia DUI in ten years is a felony if convicted and also means a fine up to $5,000 and up to 5 years in prison. With all Georgia convictions, there are possible add-ons, court-costs, and other fees that can pretty much double that base fine.
The base fine is assessed on each and every citation associated with a DUI case. I wrote yesterday about some of the DUI related offenses that commonly go hand-in-hand with DUIs. If someone is arrested and convicted of his or her first Georgia DUI, Failure to Maintain Lane, Speeding, and Reckless Driving, then just the total of base fines is up to $4,000 and up to 48 months of jail time.
Next, let's examine the opportunity costs.
- The aftermath of a DUI conviction takes the convicted person away from their job for countless hours.
- Many employers may not accept a person with a DUI conviction because of perceived character flaws.
- Certain government certificates (mainly concerning security clearance) are delayed if someone has a DUI.
- Most rental car agencies refuse to rent to people convicted of DUI.
- Some countries prohibit visitation from people with a DUI conviction.
- A DUI conviction could triple a monthly car insurance premium for the following three to seven years.
I disagree with just how expensive a DUI conviction can end up being for an individual in Georgia. I also disagree with the perception that a DUI demonstrates any sort of character flaws.
To summarize the evaluation of costs associated with a DUI, it's most cost efficient to avoid a conviction for DUI in the first place.